There are a few things in life that you don't really start giving a second thought until you're not only responsible for yourself anymore. As soon as you hold the positive pregnancy test in your hands, your life changes completely. You try to eat healthier, take your pregnancy vitamins, attend pregnancy yoga classes, play music for your unborn baby and tell her bedtime stories..
Once you hold your little bundle of joy in our hands, the protective instinct kicks in high gear. Outlets are covered weeks before your little one even attempts to crawl, drawers and cupboards are secured and dangerous edges and corners are taped over with protectors.
That's about how it is for most parents (at least with the first child). And for us it was and is not much different. We try our best to protect Ella and not to expose her to unnecessary dangers.
A danger, that we unfortunately cannot avoid, is driving. Until just recently, we were still driving Ella around in her infant seat. We were told, when we bought the seat, that this was the safest option (as long as the child is within the size and weight limits) and that we should use the seat as long as we could.
Around Ella's first birthday, we slowly started thinking about toddler car seats. We started paying more attention - for example in the parking lot at the grocery store - to how other people were transporting their kids. We were positively surprised to see that more and more people where using rear facing car seats.
Why is rear facing safer?
In a front-end collision, the child is subject to great forces. In a forward facing seat, at 50 km/h (31 mph), these forces are about 180-220 kg (about 400-485 lbs). The head is thrown forward while he torso is held back by the harness. The neck muscles and spine in small kids is not fully developed and their little necks can't withstand the force of the collision.
Rear facing car seats - also known as reboarders - distribute the energy of the impact evenly on the whole back of the child. The forces are between 40 and 60 kg (about 90-130 lbs) in rear facing toddler seats and the risk of a fatality is greatly reduced.
For us it was clear that we wanted to transport Ella in a rear facing seat for as long as we could. After a great amount of research on the subjects of safety, quality and comfortability of the toddler car seat, we chose the Scandinavian company BeSafe - the pioneers in rear facing car seats for toddlers. Even back in the 80s, Besafe was already aware that rear facing seats were much safer for small children and brought the first reboarder to the Scandinavian market.
After the manufacturer was found, it was about finding the right seat and the following problem: We have two cars. A newer Ford Focus station wagon (with ISOfix and unfortunately very steep rear seats) and a 20 year old Fiat Punto (an old Italian without ISOfix). Especially due to the steep rear seats, it was clear from the beginning, that we wouldn't be able to use the same car seat for both cars.
In theory it should have been the iZi Modular i-Size for the Ford and iZi Plus for the Fiat. But even though everything should fit in theory, it very important to try it all out in the car. Not only to see how the seat fits into the car, but also to see how your child likes sitting in it. After all, the seat will stay with you for the next few years.