We have often discussed the fact that rear-facing child car seats are the safest restraint systems available for transporting children. The current legislation, the approval standard ECE R129, guarantees that a CRS for very young children can be installed in a rear-facing position until they are 15 months old. This encourages the use of these seats. We should recall that standard R44-04, which separates child car seats into groups, is still in force. Seats in Groups 0 and 0+ are also rear-facing.
Having said this, the most wide-ranging recommendations often advise using these types of chairs until the child is at least four years old. It is the safest way for young children to be traveling. The neck and back muscles of children under 4 years old are still developing and are much weaker than those of older children, and of course, adults. In fact, at Fundación MAPFRE we recommend that your child travels in a rear-facing position for as long as possible, whenever possible.
When purchasing one of these seats, we need to be familiar with what is on offer. To help you with this task, in this article we will outline what types of rear-facing child car seats are available on the market.
Types of rear-facing seats
There are three types of rear-facing seats: rear-facing, convertible and «3 in 1». When children reach the upper weight or height permitted by the manufacturer of the rear-facing seat, they can continue traveling in this position in a convertible or «3 in 1» seat.
These are used for babies weighing up to 15 kilos. They are small seats and have carrying handles. Generally speaking, they have a base which is fitted in the car, and you only need to attach the seat to the base, as if it were an ISOFIX anchorage. It should be used only for traveling, and not for sleeping, eating or any other use outside the vehicle.
Convertible seats used in a rear-facing position
These seats can be used in a rear-facing position and once the child has reached the minimum permitted age, or when we decide to change its position, we can put it in a forward-facing direction for older children. This usually happens once the child exceeds the weight or height limit for facing the rear.
These are much larger seats than baby seats and they do not usually include a separate base. They are designed to be left in the car.
In many cases, these seats have higher weight and height limits for the child.
«3 in 1» seats used in a rear-facing position
These are seats which can be used in a rear-facing position, or facing forward or as booster seats. This means they can be used for much longer, although, as you might imagine, these are something of a trade-off. It is always best to purchase a child seat for each specific stage of the child's life and one which is suitable for their physical characteristics and needs.