Is rear facing the way forward?
My son is in a rear facing car seat (the BeSafe Izi Combi isofix). He will be three in March. When he was nearing a year old and growing out of his baby seat, we looked at the (simply baffling) amount of car seats on the market. I researched the seats. I read reviews. I looked at Sweden's road safety records. I looked at the scary crash dummy videos. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that the safest thing for my son was to be rear facing. We bought the BeSafe because it can also be turned around to be forward facing which I thought was very sensible.
My initial aim was to try to keep him rear facing until he was two. However, he is still rear facing at nearly three. Mainly because he's happy with it. He is not squashed, his legs have plenty of space and he has a brilliant view (the whole rear windscreen) instead of just the back of my husband's head.
I don't really think it's debatable that rear facing is safer. It's logical that if you're facing backwards in a crash then your head and neck will not take the same impact as if you were forward facing. We bought the car seat because we do a fair amount of long distance travelling (our families all live at least 200 miles away). I think if I were only doing short distances then I probably would have stuck with a forward facing seat (mainly because of the expense).
However, now that we have two children, and the girl is nearing one and will soon no longer fit in her baby seat, we have a bit of an issue. The boy faces forward when he's in the car with the childminder and he's fine with it. I guess we'll have to get him a forward facing seat as it makes more sense than splashing out on another rear facing one when he'll not fit in it that much longer.
It feels like the end of an era (very over-dramatic I know) but my boy is growing up so fast. It will be harder to keep the girl facing backwards for as long if he is facing forwards but we'll see how we go with it.
For anyone who is trying to make the decision on a new car seat, I highly recommend the BeSafe Izi Combi Isofix. Yes, it's a little expensive but it's sturdy, well made and looks as good as new even after two years. Rear facing isn't as tough as you'd imagine. In fact, it's great. If you need something to see your child with, have a look at investing in one of these (a previous review).
Give rear facing some serious thought though. Have a look at this website for statistics and more help.
Disclaimer: I have not been asked by any of the companies linked above to mention them or link to their websites.