So I’ve been doing some more research since getting back from Sweden, and I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve discovered in the last few weeks.
There’s a lot to go over but I’m hoping I can simplify and clear up some misconstrued assumptions on safety when it comes to transportation and car seats. I would also like to say that I have obtained all this information from various different sources in the last month or so.
I’m going to take you back for just a moment when parents just didn’t know any better and there was no other alternative. Imagine kids roaming freely in the backseat and front seat, even in the trunk of a car. Now that you’ve painted your own picture of what that might look like in your mind, do you think this still goes on today?
Sebastian (1 year and 2 months old) and his friend Nicolas at his 2 year old party!
My first response to that question would be, “Absolutely not! We have come so far since those days, there is no way this is still happening.” Yet, it still is in some countries such as Greece and Italy.
Now fast forward to present time in America. We seem to have the best carseats and have many laws that forbid us from letting us let our kids roam freely in the car. There’s also many different brands to choose from and they seem to range from either safest to least safe and most expensive to affordable. Now with that being said, I think as consumers we feel that the more expensive something is the better it is or “you get for what you pay for.” This is true with many things and some carseats are much safer than others I think, but they don’t have to be the most expensive.
The infant carseat we went with for our son was the Britax B-Agile/B-Safe 35 Travel System Stroller. (An infant carseat is used up until the first year of their lives and can be helpful as a carrier or make commuting with him/her that much easier). He is now in the Britax Marathon car seat. Britax is up there in ratings in America alongside Maxi-Cosi and Chicco. It’s an affordable brand and rated one of the safest. I will be using this carseat in one of our cars especially since it has the one click system, but I have also put another infant carseat on my registry, the Maxi-Cosi Micro 30 Infant car seat. I have done this because the double stroller I have, Bugaboo, doesn’t have adapters for the Britax infant carseat I already have. Plus, it’ll be nice to have a carseat in each car.
Now, I have to say I hate that it has taken me this long to get around to writing this! When I came back from Sweden, I felt so informed and wanted to share everything I had learned with you right away! But better late than never.
I want to share with you some Swedish safety regulations I learned while I was in Sweden last month. I went to a baby store, BigBaby, to look at strollers and other baby things, and ended up talking to a salesperson there who was beyond helpful and informative. We then went from talking about strollers, specifically the Bugaboo, to talking about carseats. I noticed that their number one brand they advertised was Britax, but I also noticed how differently they looked from the one I had at home. Even the ones we were borrowing in the cars we were using in Sweden were strange looking to me, but Nick and I honestly thought they were just old.
Turns out all of their infant carseats had this adjustable pole in the back connected to the base. You can find these in the U.S. on the Nuna infant carseats as well as their convertible carseats. However, the Britax carseats I saw at BigBaby aren’t sold in the U.S. and I’m thinking it’s because we don’t have those same rules or regulations of keeping our child backwards facing.
The reason for the bar in the back is to add extra support moving from left to right. So if the car was to get into an accident the carseat is definitely not moving one bit. In Sweden the convertible carseats also have this pole in the back and it adds foot room for your little one to grow into it up until they’re 4 years old!
Our son is getting to be big and old enough to legally be switched forward facing here in the states. Nick and I have had multiple conversations and disagreements on this topic, but since talking with that woman at BigBaby I have decided that my husband was actually right (did I just put that in writing, oh no?!?!).
By law in Sweden, your child is not allowed to turn forward facing until they are four years old. Weight is not a factor in this and neither is height, it is simply based off age. This is because research shows that if a child was to get into a car crash their necks are still not fully formed and the impact of the car would send little ones head flying forward even though he/she is strapped in. This can cause a whole bunch of spinal complications. There is nothing in a carseat that keeps your son or daughter’s head from flying forward other than sitting backwards facing.
In Sweden they also allow your child’s carseat to be in the front passenger seat next to you. At first when I heard this, I was really taken back. I couldn’t quite understand the concept. Apparently though they will allow you to get your airbag taken out in order for your child to sit there. The carseat has to be backwards facing still, but if you think about it, it makes it so much easier to tend to your child if he or she needs something. Otherwise you’re Elastic Girl (Mrs. Incredible) from The Incredibles trying to hand your kid their sippy cup or toy car. In Sweden though they also don’t have big cars like they do here in America. Seeing an SUV on the road in Stockholm is really unheard of. So maybe this concept is also to allow families to gain more room in their car and allow their child to continue to sit backwards facing.
Looking at my carseat my son has now, yes, there is still plenty of room for him to grow into it sitting backwards. Parents (including myself) used the argument that his legs would be smushed in an accident, he’s simply just going to be to big by the age of two, or that he’ll love watching out the front window and be able to see more. The weight limit is 65 lbs and right now he’s 30 lbs. It also has different adjustments for height so as he gets bigger you can add more head space. Also, you can adjust the leg room space by reclining the carseat best you can while staying within the green area for backwards facing that can be found on the side.
Britax Marathon Convertable Carseat
Sebastian will be in this carseat until he finally grows out of it. Will we keep him backwards facing until he’s four like they do in Sweden? This is still debatable, but as of now I’d like to keep him backwards facing for as long as I can. I think we’ll just have to see how things progress with his growth, but I’d like to think he’ll be backwards facing until he’s at least three.
We all just want what’s safest for our babies, and there is no right or wrong answer to how you decide to parent your child. Every child is different as well. You definitely know your baby best, and like I thought I knew for sure we’d switch my son forward facing as soon as he turned two, after reading up on it, I’ve definitely changed my mind. I think being informed and knowing all your options is really important. I also think doing your research and using reliable resources as your references is important as well.
Below I’ve attached a few articles regarding carseats in general and also backwards and forwards facing material.
I hope this helps in your quest for a carseat. I also hope this encourages you to do your research and make an educated decision on whether you put your child forward facing or not.
Please leave comments/questions below!
Most recent update on rear facing: