We are really happy to announce that we are officially Axkid Ambassadors!
We have had Axkid Minikids for both of our children (now almost 3 and 4.5) for over a year and a half now (see our review here) and have never looked back. Well, apart from the kids. They look back on every journey.
I’ve recommended them to friends and strangers alike and am thrilled to be working with Axkid now to raise awareness of the importance of extended rear facing.
When it comes to car seats, their only function is to protect children in the event of a crash. Yes, it’s nice if they are comfortable (no one wants an unhappy child on a five hour trip to Wales) and if they look the part, that’s a bonus, but the crucial part is that they will get your child from A to B in the safest way possible.
Therefore when looking for car seats it makes sense that we wanted to get the ones that would keep our children safest for the longest. Undoubtedly, the safest car seats for children are those that rear face; they are up to five times more effective in a crash due to the impact on the neck and pelvis, which aren’t fully formed until the child is at least four years old.
Axkid, a Swedish car seat manufacturer, are passionate about keeping children rear facing, and safer, for longer.
The Axkid Minikid is one of the longest lasting rear facing car seats in terms of weight (25kg) and height (up to 125cm) and therefore keeps children in the safest position for as long as possible.
It means that we don’t have to worry about car seats for a long time to come.
Myths surrounding rear facing car seats
My oldest is now four and a half. She’s tall and heavy for her age, and now exceeds the weight limit on the majority of extended rear facing seats. To my general annoyance, the older she gets, the more people do a double take or comment outright that she isn’t yet in a forward facing high backed booster seat.
Here are some of the comments which I’ve had, read and which other rear facing friends* have also heard.
1. Surely shops wouldn’t sell unsafe seats, it would be against the law!
You’d think…But to be sold in the UK, a car seat must meet the ECE R44/04 standard meaning it is crash tested…to just 30mph. Other car seat manufacturers test their seats at higher speeds independently. ONLY the Swedish Plus Test measures the force on the neck of the infant or child; this is the test that Axkid seats have to pass. You can see the science behind why rear facing is safer here.
Shops still sell plenty of things that aren’t recommended; cot bumpers have been shown time and again to be dangerous to small babies but you are hard pressed to buy a cot set without one.
The laws are actually changing – the new i-Size law requires children to sit rear-facing until they’re at least 15 months old. This is longer than the earlier regulations, which advise children to sit rear-facing until they weigh 9kg. Currently children can forward face from 9kg in older style seats but this just isn’t enough to keep them safe.
We still have a long way to go. In Sweden, children rear face until at least four and the Swedish safety statistics speak for themselves; it is a world leader in road safety.
2. But they look so uncomfortable rear facing!
The gajillion photographs of my children fast asleep in their car seats say otherwise.
Having used a variety of seats in other cars, I can say that the recline and padding definitely look much more comfortable!
3. They won’t like it
My oldest has been in a variety of forward-facing seats before, in friends’ and relatives’ cars, but she is absolutely happy to face the back in her Axkid Minikid car seat.
Maybe I got lucky with her, and her brother knows no different, but even if they protested; they are kids. They’d eat nothing but ice cream if they were allowed but I know vegetables are better for them, so I make that decision because I’m their mum and frankly I know better than they do.
Also I’m pretty immune to whinging from the backseat now.
4. Where do they put their legs? They won’t fit!
Kids can sit with their legs crossed, bent…however they want to and feel most comfortable. I know I’d rather have my legs propped up than dangling.
5. Surely their legs will get broken in a crash
Although I couldn’t find any evidence of this being true, even if they were to break a leg in a crash I think we can all agree it would be far preferable to breaking their neck and losing their life.
6. But what if you get hit from behind?
Something that I learned in my years working in community safety is that the majority of crashes occur head-on or from the side. Few collisions are rear impact and these tend to be at lower speeds. However if you consider the risk of whiplash to an adult after a mild rear-end collision, you’ll probably appreciate that it’s safer for a child to be rear-facing.
7. They will get bored!
This is something I hear quite often as a reason for children to be turned forward facing early, that they were bored and whinged when they were facing the back.
Extended rear facing seats differ to infant carriers in that they’re higher up, allowing children to look out of the side and rear windows. We also have a DVD player strapped between the two rear facing seats to play videos on long trips.
But at the end of the day, yes, travelling is pretty dull. Sorry kiddos.
8. They’re expensive
It’s easy to make statements like ‘you can’t put a cost on safety’ but when you are on a tight budget, the difference in price between a cheap forward facing seat and an ERF seat like the Axkid Minikid which retails at £340 can seem prohibitive, and I totally get that.
There are rear facing options which offer good value for money on the market if your budget is tight. However the thing I like the most about the Axkid Minikid seats we have is that they keep your child harnessed until 25kg which means they could potentially be in the same seat from 9 months right up until 7 years which seems like a good investment to me.
They are good, solid seats which despite constant use over more than 18 months are still as good as the day we had them (when the covers have been washed!) and if I needed to buy a new seat for either of my children, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one as I think they are definitely worth the money.
9. Belted seats aren’t as safe
Properly installed, a belted seat is just as safe as an ISOFIX seat.
ISOFIX makes it harder to install a car seat incorrectly, but can only take a maximum weight of 33kg including the seat so the usual weight limit for the child in a rear facing ISOFIX seat is 18kg, which might do them until their fourth birthday – or might not even last them past two.
10. Rear facing seats are hard to install
Honestly, yes, it can be tricky to fix in a belted seat properly on your first try so this one isn’t really a myth, but it’s not an excuse not to get one either.
There are some really great YouTube tutorials and once you have the tethers of an Axkid Minikid in place you can leave them in the car when you remove the seat, which makes the whole thing much easier. If you have multiple cars then you can buy extra sets of tethers too.
11. Their friends will make fun of them
I don’t even want to go into why hearing a parent say this about a car seat for a young child makes my heart hurt but suffice to say if your child is making fun of other children because they’re in any kind of car seat then that falls on you, parent.
So when all is said and done, there really aren’t a lot of reasons not to rear face your toddler or preschooler.
It might just save your child’s life.
*Thanks to Terri and the other girls who helped me to compile this list!