Thursday, 28 March 2013

Rear facing rules

Car seat conundrums! Anyone else had any? Myself and papa bear had been researching for two solid months trying to look for the bestest and safest seat for baby bear. To be honest, car seats have been in my thoughts since carrying Essie as a little bean in my belly. We started off though with a capsule, lent to us by some lovely friends who'd had a little boy just short of a year earlier. This rear facing baby capsule kept us going until now.. eight and a half months. The intention was to move seats at around six months..usually how long these capsules last, but it's taken forever to choose and luckily we had nine kilos to reach (500gs to go!) before the capsule was no good. The good news... we found our new seat. The better news... we're really happy so far.

After lots of digging on the net, we decided that we wanted to stay rear facing for as long as possible, which is apparently something like five times more safe than forward facing. This is where the first problemo started. Here in Australia the rules are that we only have to keep our babies rear facing until six months old. There are different lobbies trying to get the government to change this to 12 months, but as of yet it's not come in to fruition  So, as a reflection we couldn't find any seats that rear faced beyond approximately 12 months of age. In the UK they recommend keeping babies rear facing until 18 months, the US have recently increased to two years old, whereas some European countries and Sweden recommend rear facing until at least four years of age.

At first we did try and work with what we had available here and brought a seat, but we didn't feel comfortable and so ended up returning it. Round two and our next purchase, after hours more research, was the Britax Max-Way. This is an extended rear facing car seat which we imported from a retailer in Sweden, It was a bit scary buying something so important online and without being able to test it out in our car, but we had such brilliant advice given to us by CarSeat's founder, Håkan Svensson - who gets hundreds of emails everyday from parents. Håkan's a busy man and am sure was very pleased the day we brought our seat and my line of questions stopped. Håkan's advice and fantastic knowledge, plus further reading from other parents like us in multiple forums, helped us to make the final decision and buy our seat.

So the reasons we choose and so far love the Max-Way:
  • It rear faces until 25 kilos, which means Essie will be able to use it until approximately five years of age or 115ish cms tall. 
  • It's compact, doesn't take up too much room - so great for small cars. We have a Suzuki Grand Vitara which is a small 4WD, but it fits perfectly.
  • It has built in head support with an integrated harness, so you don't have to rethread the straps manually as your bubba grows
  • Seat cover is so easy to remove and clean. I know this, as I spilt some food on it, the day it arrived... d'oh, but whipped it off in a flash and was just as easy to put back on.
  • It has an upright and a semi recline position. We did however buy an additional wedge which allows an even greater recline angle. I wanted this, just to avoid any head slumps when sleep travelling
  • It's simple and not too heavily padded, so hopefully less overheating, but still comfortable
  • So easy to put the bubba in and take her out
  • Anchors down securely in the car and feels sturdy, with hardly any movement at all
  • It passed the Swedish Plus Test, up to 25kg earning the mark Test Plus Gold. This is considered one of the most rigorous safety tests in the world. Apparently only three seats have passed this, in this weight category.

Here's some piccies...

Max-Way with head rest fully extended

Clever little holes to place straps in, to keep them out of the way when you put baby in the seat
Close-up of strap 'pocket'
Max-Way with head rest on lowest setting
Clips to keep seat cover in place

Swedish Test Plus Gold

Yesterday was the first road test and it was ace. We have a big road trip coming up, so will report back how it goes when we're back. So far though, so bloody good!

1 comment:

  1. Looks brilliant to me and you can see Ess is very happy and looks comfortable. I know how much you research everything you buy and if anyone is thinking of buying this product then you can be assured it comes with the highest recommendations.