Extended Rear-Facing Car Seats and Volvo

 |  Parenting, Review

Update: Extended rear facing car seats are no longer available at cheaper prices through Volvo

Motherhood is full of decisions. How to feed your baby, how to dress your baby (apparently if it wears sleepsuits during the day, you’re a neglectful mother; who knew?), how to wean your baby, how to transport your baby. The last has been something of a discussion in our house over the past few weeks, as Isabel is outgrowing her first car seat (she’s still within the weight range but is quite tall).

In the UK, when a baby outgrows their first car seat it’s fairly normal to buy a forward facing seat and flip them ’round. However, what most car seat retailers won’t tell you is that if the worst should happen and you are involved in a typical car smash, in a forward facing seat the neck is subjected to a force equivalent to 300-320kg. However, in a rear facing seat, the force on the neck is equivalent to only 50kg (source)

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that less force == less chance of injury. And so for us, the search was on to find a rear-facing car seat. Unfortunately this is where most people come across a stumbling block; most mainstream retailers (Mothercare, Halfords etc) will inform you that rear-facing is unnecessary, or that there are no rear-facing seats available in the UK. Those with supposed up-to-date training aren’t generally aware of the statistics concerning forward-facing deaths and are more interested in selling you the most expensive car seat in store. We in the UK don’t know about extended rear-facing, so shops don’t stock those car seats, so less people then know the options are there — it’s a vicious cycle!

Thanks to a tip off from a friend online, we discovered that Volvo sell rear-facing car seats. It makes sense; they’re a Swedish car manufacturer and in Sweden, infants are normally rear-facing until around the age of 6. The Volvo car seats are re-badged Britax, but with the handy benefit of being about £100 cheaper than we could find anywhere else.

We went to our local Volvo dealership, in Shrewsbury, and a really helpful chap called Colin gave us an estimate for ‘parts’ and ordered the car seat in for us to look at. In less than 24 hours the car seat was in, approved, bought and home. Fantastic, friendly service and an excellent price at around £160 inc. VAT.

The car seat itself is rock-solid sturdy and well padded; you can easily see why Volvo stock this brand, it looks as indestructible as their cars. The support leg has a handy pressure-sensitive part on the bottom which allows you to see if it’s properly placed, and the tether straps to keep it tied to the front seat are included too (they’re not in some online shops). Of course, the acid test… does Isabel like it? Well, she fell asleep within 10 minutes of being in it, so it’s got to be good!

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

8 comments so far

  1. Mumblies said:

    Having seen and used many different types of baby seats over the years I thought I’d pretty much seen all there was on offer. How happy I am to be able to say how wrong I was…
    The new car seat is a BEAST of a baby seat, and I am not surprised that Izz liked it that much she fell asleep in it, I don’t think there could possibly be a safer/better made/well padded chair in circulation.
    The price compared to most on offer is very reasonable and considering just how solid and well made it is, is well worth every penny. (especially considering how small that price is compared to a delicate vulnerable baby)
    Well done you two for finding a fab seat, you might want to pop a pic of it in here Jem so that others can see how good it is.

  2. Erin said:

    I had no idea Volvo made car seats. And I agree with your Mum, please share a picture! You could stick Hex in it for the photo shoot. =D

  3. Justin said:

    Yeah I definitely wouldn’t have thought to check a car dealership for a car seat lol. But I have a little niece; so I’ll let my sister know that incase she ever needs a rear-facing car seat. =P

  4. Kerry said:

    I personally think it’s disgusting that retailers are more interested in selling their most expensive product than the safety of infants and babies. Surely that should be their number one priority.

    I had no idea that Volvo made car seats. I would imagine they’re bloody good though, given the sturdiness of their cars. We had a collision in a Volvo not long ago and not even a scratch on the car.
    I’d love to see a picture of the car seat.

  5. Arwen said:

    Not that I’ll (hopefully) ever have a need to buy car seats, but I think it’s kind of appalling that the less-safe version is more popular. Good thing you did your research!

  6. Tracy Burnett said:

    I have the Britax/Volvo rear facing seat. It has a separate sofix base and is great. My daughter could stay in it longer as she has not quite reached the hight nor weight limits if the straps were a bit longer. It is alright in summer when she hardly wears any clothes but when thick jackets etc. are on in winter is can be a struggle. Disappointing as I researched this so thoroughly when she was growing out of the infant one.

    I am now trying to get a new booster with backrest that also has isofix. None of them seem to have isofix and the five point harness, it seems they automatically use the seat belt at this point. I have contacted Volvo and their one is £150 plus VAT. Expensive and no isofix!

    • Jem said:

      Tracy – it’s important that you DON’T put a thick jacket on your daughter in her car seat (the same applies to grown-ups and seat belts). In the event of a crash the jacket/coat will compress, making the straps too loose and possibly allowing your daughter to be ejected from her seat.

      There are some photos in this facebook album demonstrating the above.