Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A new week

My friend Sally Parker has written some fantastic information for us on Extended Rear Facing (ERF). Sally is a beautiful Mumma to Oli, who is a month older than Raine, she loves baby wearing and is just a gorgeous mum all around.

Current Australian law states:
Children must be in a rearward facing restraint until a minimum of 6 months.
Children aged 6 months - 4 years must be in either a rear facing or forward facing restraint with inbuilt harness.
Children aged 4 – 7 years must be in either a forward facing restraint or an approved booster seat.

Please note that all of the above are the MINIMUM standard and should be seen as such. It is not a milestone to look forward to when moving your child to the next restraint as it could be compromising their safety. Having said that, children should be in a restraint that is suitable to their age and height. For example if a four year old is using a 0-4 year restraint and his ears are over the top of the shell, then he should be using an alternative convertible booster seat.

What is extended rear facing? Well it is basically keeping your child in the rear facing position in their restraint for longer than the expected age (6-12 months). Extended rear facing is not common practice in Australia but awareness of it is growing, particularly through the use of social media. The main reason to extend rear face is safety. It is, after all, why we have child restraints, to provide children with safety and comfort while in a vehicle.
Research has shown that rear facing is up to 500% safer than forward facing for children up to the age of 2 years. When a child is forward facing the harness is holding back a child’s shoulders and body but if there were a collision their head and neck would be thrown forward, putting extreme force on their undeveloped head, neck and spine. When in the rear facing position the child’s whole back absorbs the force while pushing the head and neck into the cushioned restraint, therefore, providing fantastic protection against injury ( You may ask ‘What about their legs?’ I can tell you now I would much prefer my child to have two broken legs than a broken neck.

As with all things, rear facing is only safer if the restraint is used correctly. For example; when rear facing the straps should level or slightly above the shoulders, when forward facing the straps should be level or slightly below the shoulders; if using a seat with Active Head Restraint (AHR) it should not touch the child’s shoulders but sit above; if the restraint is an older weight based version do not exceed the recommended weight limit for rear facing, you also do not want to go over the shoulder height marker (you can go to the top of the label) as seats are not tested beyond those limits; a restraint should not be used if older than 10 years, and finally only use restraints that meet Australian standards.

There are many child restraints currently on the market that offer fantastic shoulder height markers making them ideal for extended rear facing. The two brands that stand out are Britax Safe n Sound and Infa Secure, Britax being an American company and Infa Secure being Australian.
When looking for a child restraint you need to figure out what is going to suit your family. Have you got a small car or is space no issue? Do you need to fit multiple restraints? How much do you wish to spend on a restraint? Do you like the ease of AHR meaning no rethreading of the straps?
Both Infa Secure and Safe n Sound offer seats to suit everyone’s need.
Safe n Sound
If budget and space weren’t an issue the Platinum SICT would be my pick. It currently retails for $659. It is quite a bulky seat but it definitely has all the bells and whistles if that’s your thing.

Meridian SICT (RRP $499) is quite a wide seat but would suit a large vehicle or a vehicle containing only one child restraint.

Compaq AHR (RRP $449) is the narrowest of Safe n Sound restraints, which means it would be the perfect choice for a car with multiple restraints. The Compaq also comes in a range of nice colours.

All of the above restraints have a rear facing height of approximately 37cms.

Infa Secure
Infa Secure make a great budget seat that can be found at multiple stores but under different names. It is, however, the same seat. This is Infa Secure’s base model seat meaning it doesn’t have super thick cushioning or funky colours like their other seats, however many people use it for a newborn and feel that it provides adequate comfort and support. We use one for our little boy and have had no problems. You can also buy additional inserts that add a pop of colour for $39.99.
Below are the names and stores it can be found at.
Neon (Big W)
Glider (Baby Bunting)
Ascent (Toys R Us)
RRP is approximately $179 as it can vary slightly from store to store.
If you prefer a little more padding I would recommend the Kompressor Caprice (RRP $329) which comes in a great variety of colours or the Kompressor XT (RRP $249) the only difference being that it is only available in grey.
All of the above Infa Secure restraints have a narrow base so they are perfect for carrying multiple restraints. They all have a rear facing height of approximately 36cms.
If you are an supporter of extended rear facing and would like to see the laws change from 6 months to at least 12 months for forward facing please visit the following website and sign the petition:

I've also included a breastfeeding fact sheet for some of the new mums who may be in need of clarity and hope!

There is not too much about me this week, I shall update you all soon....time to address my real diary for a change. The positives in my life currently are many and I am using them wisely to stay afloat.

Love and peace to all xx

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