Made for the real life, not just test scenarios: rear facing car seats protect your child in any situation
The seat shell and the headrest of a rear facing seat act as a protective shell for the child’s most vulnerable body parts in frontal impacts – the most common type of collision and cause for serious injuries. On top of that, essentially all rear facing child car seats feature a 5-point harness, reducing the risk of the child slipping out of the harness in a crash, which could lead to life-threatening injuries.
The protection of the seat shell is always there when using a rear facing child car seat, protecting the child at any time – no matter the speed of the car or the intensity of an impact or a harsh braking manoeuvre. At BeSafe we want our car seats to perform in the real life, not just in test scenarios.
Many real-life accidents are also not as ‘simple’ as a crash test that test one single impact point. In reality, it often happens that you might hit an object or other vehicle first, and then a road barrier or even another vehicle.
In a rear facing seat, your child has the protection from the seat’s construction, seat shell and headrest in every impact point, no matter how many there are or how long the accident “lasts”.
Rear facing child car seats are beneficial in side impacts
Rear facing car seats do not only offer optimal protection in frontal impacts. Also in side impacts, which are the second most common source of serious injuries or death in traffic accidents, they show benefits compared to forward facing seats. Unlike crash tests, most real life side impacts are not 90° from the side (3 or 9 o’clock), but rather at an angle between front-on and side-on. Additionally, a driver usually sees a side impact coming (even if just in the corner of the eye) and instinctively brakes, through which the child gets pushed into the protection area of a rear facing child seat. In a forward facing seat, the child would get pushed a bit out of the seat when braking and would then be more exposed to forces from the side.
A seamless transition from the infant carrier to the rear facing toddler seat
According to the regulation UN R129, which soon will be the only active regulation in in Europe and other countries, children MUST travel rear facing until the age of 15 months at least. However, most of the currently available infant carriers are usually outgrown before the child turns 15 months – in many cases even before the child turns 12 months.
For parents, wanting to buy a forward facing toddler seat, this means that they’re legally not allowed to transition into the forward facing seat until the child turns 15 months. Therefore we recommend a rear facing toddler car seat as the next stage seat after the infant carrier. All our rear facing toddler car seats can be used from 61 cm, which means from approx. 6 months of age. By choosing a seat that can be used rear facing for a long time, you also make sure that your child travels safely in any circumstances for as long as possible.
A comfortable choice for your child
Being secured by a 5-point harness means that there’s nothing in the way for the child, restricting the movement of their arms, and they will sit comfortably from the very beginning. In most BeSafe car seats, the child even benefits from extra movement freedom for the arms thanks to the BeSafe Ergo-Move Shoulder Pads™.
A topic, that concerns many parents, is the question about where the child’s legs should go when they grow. Be aware that children are a lot more flexible than most adults and like to sit in different positions with their legs. Sitting in a rear facing car seat allows them to vary their leg position: they can place them against the backrest of the vehicle seat, next to the child car seat or sit with crossed legs – just to name a few alternatives.
In a forward facing child car seat, younger children’s legs will not reach the vehicle floor yet, which means that they won’t be supported in any way. Sitting with dangling legs for a longer time is not only uncomfortable, but also puts a lot of strain on the knees. Therefore, it’s not a surprise, that forward facing children often push their feet against the back of the front seat, which can be quite uncomfortable for the person sitting in the front.
Rear facing seats require a lot more space in the car – a widely spread myth that leads to misuse of forward facing seats
Many parents argue that they don’t fit a large and bulky rear facing seat in their car. However, they don’t take into account, that even a forward facing seat requires a lot of space for correct installation. When using a forward facing seat, there should always be at least 55 cm between the child’s head and the front seat to avoid severe head injuries from colliding with the backrest of the seat in front in an accident. Of course the size and construction of child car seats differs a lot, but if you take those 55 cm into consideration, the generalisation that rear facing car seats require a lot more space than forward facing ones is proofed wrong.
With the right accessories it’s easier to have an eye on you rear facing child than on a forward facing child
It is a widely spread belief that it’s easier to travel with forward facing children, since you see them through the rear-view mirror and always can have an eye on them without having to turn around – thus increasing passive safety. However, if your rear-view mirror is adjusted to see the rear window (which is highly recommended for traffic safety), you will not be able to see smaller children in their forward facing seat. You need to actively lean over to see more of the child and even then you’ll most likely not get a proper view of your child, as shown in the example images below.
By using a rear facing seat with a baby mirror, you can easily adjust the baby mirror so that you always have a good view of your child. Not only for eye contact, but you’ll see most of your child’s upper body, allowing you to really see what’s going on in the back without having to lean over or adjusting your rear-view mirror the wrong way.
For more information about the safety benefits of rear facing car seats, read our article why traveling rear facing is 5x safer >>
We’ve only covered a few widely spread myths about rear facing car seats in this article. Read more about the most common rear facing myths and what’s actually behind them >>