Rear Facing Baby Car Seats – Demystified

Before purchasing most items, Rambo and I do our due diligence. Especially when it comes to items that cost a lot of money or more importantly, item that directly impact the safety of our baby. So it when it came to buying a car seat for the baby it was no different. Unfortunately, the information around car seats on the internet is confusing. I’d like to think I’m fairly clued up when it comes to technology/engineering but this car seat crap baffled me.

This post should help clear up the confusion around baby car seats.

First thing to note is the date of this post: December 2015. The laws and regulations are changing so always check relevant links for up to date information. I’ll try and add some of these links for reference.

The Current Law:

The current law around car seats is split in two categories.

  • Height-based car seats are known as ‘i-Size’ seats. They must be rear-facing until your child is over 15 months old. Your child can use a forward-facing car seat when they’re over 15 months old.


  • Weight-based car seats must be rear-facing until your child weighs more than 9kg.After that the seat your child can use (and the way they must be restrained in it) depends on their weight.You may be able to choose from more than one type of seat.
    Child’s weight Car seat
    0kg to 25kg Rear-facing baby carrier, or rear-facing baby seat using a harness
    9kg to 18kg Rear- or forward-facing baby seat using a harness or safety shield
    15kg to 36kg Forward-facing child seat (high-backed booster seat) using a seatbelt
    Over 22kg Booster cushion

For a full list of details please click here .

So has that made it all clear? Probably not! i-Size was mentioned above. What is it?

What is i-Size?

i-Size is a European car seat safety regulation that came into force in July 2013. It’s part of the R129 regulations and applies to new car seats for babies and young children up to around four years old.

i-Size is Safer:

  • Children have improved head and neck protection
  • i-Size gives your child better protection if you’re hit side-on.
  • You have to use ISOFIX –  a system that makes the car seat easy to fit correctly in the car

Why is rearward facing in a car seat for longer, safer? 

Babies and children are not mini adults, their bones and skeletons are different and need much more protection from the forces in a crash.

Swapping your baby to forward facing when he or she is as young as nine-months or 9kg exposes your baby to more danger in the event of a front impact car crash. Because a baby’s head is bigger in proportion to the rest of their body, when the head is thrown forward through the force of the crash, there is more of a risk of spinal and neck injuries.

It’s safest to keep babies in their rearward-facing infant carrier for as long as possible. Don’t be tempted to swap your baby forward-facing until he or she has:

  • Reached 15 months of age, or
  • Reached the weight limit for their current seat, or
  • The crown of their head is level with the top of the car seat (which means it won’t be protected in a crash)

Keeping your baby in their infant carrier for as long as possible also saves money as it means you don’t need to buy a new car seat right now.

**i-Size car seats are based on your child’s height, rather than her weight. This should make it easier for you to tell if your child is in the right sized car seat.

What is ISO Fix?

ISOFIX, is a system that allows car seats to be ‘plugged’ into sockets on a car’s chassis, creating a more rigid attachment than with a seat held in place by the seat belt. The system also helps reduce installation errors which can compromise a seat’s protection.

ISOFIX makes correct fitting much easier – you just click the seat into the sockets, with no faffing about routing the seat belt webbing around the seat.

Isofix connectors latch on to a part of the car’s frame that is hidden in the upholstery


So has that made it clear? No? Well,  I hope it has given a waffle free overview of what to look for or at least what to be aware of when buying a car seat.

In short, rear facing car seats are safer.

What did we buy?

Why Did We Buy It?

We bought the 2 way base combo because we intend to keep our baby facing backwards for as long as possible (up to 4 years old if possible) and the 2 way base allows us to do this. When we are done with the baby seat, we should be able to plug in a rear facing toddler seat with ease. Also…

I’m anticipating that the law will probable change again soon and it will become mandatory for toddlers to be rear facing.

Common car seat fitting mistakes:

  1. Harness too slack – You shouldn’t be able to get more than two fingers between the harness and your child’s chest.
  2. Wrong routing of the seat belt – Never try to guess how a car seat should be fitted. Instead, make sure you follow the car seat manufacturer’s instructions faithfully.
  3. Seat belts not plugged in – It sounds crazy but it’s amazing how often parents forget to do this – usually because they’re juggling all sorts of things in their hands and in their minds. Don’t forget, nimble little fingers can also release a buckle.
  4. Car seat too loose – If you grab the base and try to wiggle it, it should hardly move.
  5. Seat belt buckle resting on frame – Only the webbing (the material part) of the seat belt should touch the car seat frame. Otherwise you can get ‘buckle crunch”, making the seat belt spring open in a crash.



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Please find some links to pages I used to help write this post:









6 thoughts on “Rear Facing Baby Car Seats – Demystified

  1. It’s interesting how different the guidelines are for each country. We had big babies so were able to have them facing forward fairly young and for us it was a good thing. Safety wise they were fine because of their size, but the the biggest benefit was their ability to see us. They hated not being able to see us when they woke up from a nap in the car.

    You did some great research. I’m getting a kick out of seeing things through younger eyes and from a different perspective.

    Happy Holidays…and all that jazz 🙂 ♥♥♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Informative post! I’m glad Australiam standards have finally caught up with Europe’s in terms of car seats, as I telber a while ago rear facing car seats were illegal here. Would be interested to learn whether you changed cars in preparation for the baby as we are thinking of doing so. We want to get the safest car out there with the safest car seat possible because the most dangerous thing you can do in your day is drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funnily enough we did change cars! We planned the new car to arrive just before we had the baby. The old one just about held out. The latest safety laws are all around the new ISO fixes. Upon reflection, they are a lot safer than just strapping in the baby seat with a seat belt.


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