At Stork Exchange car seat safety is first in our minds… we are terrified of it. I went to a safety training session by Britax recently and as always, it’s a reminder that the car seat is the single most important piece of equipment you will invest in for your baby. The crash test videos they show always frighten me, which is a good thing. One of the things that stayed in my head was the actual force of an accident…. our trainer Stacy explained how a box of tissues, which many people would keep on the back seat, propelled in a 40km/hour collision turns into the equivalent of a brick. She added that one woman in a class she was training had her handbag and phone beside her when she was driving, she took a corner too fast, rolled her car and her mobile flew up, hit her and broke her jaw. Note to self, keep all possible projectiles in the boot. Can you imagine how dangerous your child becomes to themselves and other passengers, if not harnessed and secured properly into their car seats?
So Rearward Facing Car Seat – what’s the big deal?
It’s such a big deal! Again Stacy scared us all by explaining how most collisions are from the front. If your child is in a rearward facing car seat, the initial force of the hit is absorbed by the shell of the car seat and the padding underneath. If you picture the same collision with the child in a forward facing seat it’s not a pretty picture. That’s not to say a good forward facing seat, installed correctly, harness tightened won’t save your child’s life… it’s the injuries that are sustained in both scenarios that are different – bruising / perhaps broken legs versus possible damage to internal organs.
Britax have also developed products with side impact protection features (look out for anything with “SICT” in the title. I’m sure there are other brands who have the same focus on safety as Britax do (check out http://www.britax.co.uk/safety-expertise/). Maxi Cosi go above and beyond too (http://www.maxi-cosi.com/ie-en/car-seats.aspx) As a precaution I would definitely recommend buying your car seat from companies such as Mothercare, Halfords and the independants, where staff are trained and know what they’re talking about, and buy brands with a ‘safety first‘ philosophy. (And I know I shouldn’t say it but I will: don’t buy you car seat from supermarkets and toy shops). Interestingly, Britax (and I think Maxi Cosi) don’t manufacture booster cushions.
If you are looking at car seats, this MaxFix is a beaut – it’s about €450 in the shops so not cheap, but it’ll last you for 4 years and is rearward facing til then. Oh, by the way, apparently Britax seats don’t have expiry dates – something to do with the reinforced plastics they use, so, so long as it’s not in an accident, you can use the seat for any brothers or sisters who come along too!