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Frustration with professional seat-fitters
who don't understand extended rear-facing


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23 replies to this topic

#1 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:18 PM

This is kind of a vent. I've been frustrated twice now by the professionals I've asked to fit my girl's seat for me.

Both fitters couldn't believe that I wanted my toddler rear-facing and tried hard to talk me out of using the rear-facing capsule, even though she well and truly fits under the height and weight limits for the seat. Honestly, she really does fit, even at 1 year 10 months. (She is off the bottom of the height and weight charts so she is unusually small.)

Why don't the professional fitters know that it is SAFER to keep the little ones rear-facing? They actually tried to talk me out of it and were concerned for my child who would not get to 'see out the front' or who should be turned because 'you are supposed to turn kids at 6 months'. I cannot understand how they are not up with the latest research.

It's hard to convince my husband how important extended rear-facing is when the professional fitters don't agree with me.

Have other people had these experiences? Where do I find a fitter in Sydney who understands these issues?

#2 IsolaBella

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

Before I knew about RF, when my eldest outgrew his capsule height wise, I purchased a FF seat. Restraint fitter actually requested DSs Blue Book to confirm he was over 8kgs before he would install the seat FF. DS was a small 10mo at the time (8.1kgs).

It just depends on who you get. My cousin was told by Kidsafe in 2006 that it was best for her then not yet 3yo to go to a booster and put the baby in big borers seat when baby outgrew the capsule. My cousin was then determined to put her child ina booster by three years. My son who is the same age was in 5pt harness until 5-6yrs of age. My cousin thought I was crazy a she had been told by Kidsafe. Unfortunately she was not here for the Law changes.



#3 Cantankerous

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

my DH is a fitter he said he wouldn't put a toddler in a capsule seat rear facing as they are meant for small newborns not for toddlers who have ample neck control. However unless you told him what child your putting in it he would just assume it was for a new born and probably fit it.

#4 lucky 2

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:33 PM

QUOTE (myfamilyrocks @ 21/02/2013, 02:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've never been asked why I wanted a particular seat put in at any time. How rude of them to not do what you ask.

That's a tricky one, if he is being paid to fit a seat (for safety reasons and they have a recognised qualification) and they believe that what you are wanting is unsafe then it would be appropriate for them to say something. Otherwise if something happened to your child they may end up with some liability?
I'm not defending the accuracy of what the fitter said, just the principle of him speaking up about it, I'd hate to think that the qualified fitter might not speak up if required if there really was a safety risk and keep quiet because "the customer always knows best".

#5 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:36 PM

Oh, just to clarify, they did put the seat in the way I wanted in the end, but they weren't happy about it!

I just didn't appreciate having to argue with them about preferences when what I'm asking is perfectly legal and safer than what they were suggesting - they just haven't done as much safety research as I have done.

I would have expected the professionals to be able to tell me best practice guidelines or at least have an informed discussion with me about it. But one guy was avidly arguing against a safer practice (rear-facing) because he thought my toddler should appreciate seeing out the front window.

Edited by aleithaki, 21 February 2013 - 01:40 PM.


#6 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:44 PM

QUOTE (*~Lisa~* @ 21/02/2013, 02:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
my DH is a fitter he said he wouldn't put a toddler in a capsule seat rear facing as they are meant for small newborns not for toddlers who have ample neck control. However unless you told him what child your putting in it he would just assume it was for a new born and probably fit it.


Interesting point. I thought from my research that capsules would always remain the safest option, assuming the child still fits under the height and weight guidelines. Is there any research to suggest this is not the case?

#7 lucky 2

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Sounds like one of those situations when saying little may be the wisest thing to do.

#8 Laveaender

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:50 PM

Its frightening. I know a terrific fitter who is very keen on keeping kids RF as long as possible and who has more than once refused to fit seats where she felt the child was too small or the product inappropriate.
I'll PM you her number.

#9 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:51 PM

I wasn't going to mention my daughter's age - but she was there, so I could hardly hide her! She acts very much like a two year old so the fitter was taken aback.

Edited by aleithaki, 21 February 2013 - 01:51 PM.


#10 Lyn86

Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:24 PM

Do you mean a capsule that you can remove from the car? I don't know any toddlers that can safely fit in one of those, little or not.

#11 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:55 PM

QUOTE (Lyn86 @ 21/02/2013, 03:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Do you mean a capsule that you can remove from the car? I don't know any toddlers that can safely fit in one of those, little or not.


I've got a 9 kg toddler and a capsule that is approved rear-facing for a child up to 12 kg. I know it's unusual but in my situation she fits. We don't intend to pick up the capsule out of the car - my arms aren't strong enough. But it's ok for driving as far as I know.

#12 IsolaBella

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:04 PM

Weight is not the only consideration. If a child's head is within 2.5cm of the top of the capsule they have outgrown it height wise. dS1 was only 8.1kgs when he outgrew a capsule which was later rated to 12kgs (Unity). His head was not protected by the seat. This is later shown the CREP testing where the Unity capsule gets a piddle single star for safety.



#13 PrincessPeach

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:05 PM

Could it be possible that the issue was not keeping her rear-facing, but keeping her in a capsule & not a reversible seat, where she could possibly fit for longer?


#14 BabeBlossom

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:10 PM

I recently used an installer through baby bunting to install my 2yr olds new forward facing seat. Prior to that she had been still rear facing in a Meridian. The installer was a young guy and when he requested her age and weight for the certificate he practically high fived me. He said they spend most of their day trying to convince people to not FF their 6 month olds and are big advocates of extended RF. He also had a few choice things to say about RACV (Vic) installers and how many of their incorrectly installed seats they end up fixing. I think the quality of your installer is the issue, if your DD is legally using the seat then he shouldn't have an opinion on it especially seeing how much safer your preference is.

#15 ednaboo

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:20 PM

There is one capsule that had a weight limit of 12kg (under the old system) and that is the Unity, but that capsule only scores one star in CREP so is not the safest option you could choose.  You are obviously concerned about safety if you are still RF her, but did you know how poorly this capsule performs?  There are many safer options available.

Edited by ednaboo, 21 February 2013 - 03:23 PM.


#16 emwill

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:23 PM

I am currently in the process of becoming a ACRI Affiliate trained member.
Unfortunately although restraint products are very simple in theory, the environment in which fitters/service providers need to be involved add many complications (e.g.: the vehicles, misinformation aspects, poor communication issues and other challenges related to specific children). Ongoing industry support network is paramount for individuals to keep ‘on top’ of issues that arise. This is where the ACRI training comes in. There is no one rule and issues arise and circumstance change in the fitting of restrains, almost on a daily basis. Of course there are the simple rules you can check yourself on the ACRI website under FAQ.
http://www.acri.com.au/
I would tend to agree with the fitter you saw and *~Lisa~* HB that a capsule (although your daughter meets the size/weight requirement) is intended for an infant, not a toddler no matter how small she might be. I totally agree with rear facing as long as possible but a convertible seat in the rear facing position would be safer in my opinion.


#17 aleithaki

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:40 PM

QUOTE (lsolaBella @ 21/02/2013, 04:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Weight is not the only consideration. If a child's head is within 2.5cm of the top of the capsule they have outgrown it height wise. dS1 was only 8.1kgs when he outgrew a capsule which was later rated to 12kgs (Unity). His head was not protected by the seat. This is later shown the CREP testing where the Unity capsule gets a piddle single star for safety.


Good point, thanks. I actually just realised that myself this afternoon - she is pretty much right on 2.5 cm in that head measurement so yes, I suppose she has just about outgrown it in that regard. I appreciate the reminder about this because it's not stated as clearly in the manuals, so I had forgotten to check it.


QUOTE (PrincessPeach @ 21/02/2013, 04:05 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Could it be possible that the issue was not keeping her rear-facing, but keeping her in a capsule & not a reversible seat, where she could possibly fit for longer?


Yes, you're right, I'm fully aware she won't fit it for long. I intended it as a stop-gap secondary car seat for 3 months before we have another baby and reshuffle the seats again.


QUOTE (ednaboo @ 21/02/2013, 04:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There is one capsule that had a weight limit of 12kg (under the old system) and that is the Unity, but that capsule only scores one star in CREP so is not the safest option you could choose.  You are obviously concerned about safety if you are still RF her, but did you know how poorly this capsule performs?  There are many safer options available.


Thanks as well - yes, it's the Unity and as I've been researching hard this afternoon, I just found out the CREP score now for the first time. It's definitely worth my reconsideration on this point. However, as stated above, it was going to be a secondary car seat for only a few months use and is not her main car seat for everyday use. So I guess I'll think hard about my priorities on that, too!


Thanks, everyone. I think, in summary, reading your responses, I guess I am now pushing the limits trying to use this particular seat, so it makes sense that the installers don't quite agree. I'll rethink it.

However, I still think the installers should know enough to have a proper conversation with me about all the safety issues mentioned above. We shouldn't have to have a conversation where they insist that 'two-year-olds don't go rear-facing because they like to see out the front window'.

PS - emwill, just saw your post. That is very interesting. Do you recommend an age at which you would consider capsules to be less safe than convertible seats? I always just thought it was better to hold kids back until they grew out of whatever seat they are in (including capsules). Maybe I've got the wrong idea?

#18 IsolaBella

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

Capsule is designed to a child of 9/12kgs. A RF/FF seat is designed to take larger children. Most new SnS and Infa seats are in house tested with 15kgs test dummies RF in preparation for a new type of A3 RF specification for older toddlers to 3yrs of age. So the RF/FF seats provide ,ore protection.



#19 Libster

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

A bit off-topic but I went to a fitting place to get a baby capsule fitted yesterday and they asked if I wanted it rear or forward facing  huh.gif Didn't fill me with much confidence!

#20 emwill

Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE
PS - emwill, just saw your post. That is very interesting. Do you recommend an age at which you would consider capsules to be less safe than convertible seats? I always just thought it was better to hold kids back until they grew out of whatever seat they are in (including capsules). Maybe I've got the wrong idea?


Well, this is just my opinion from what I am currently learning, but I would say that a Baby Capsule is intended for use for an infant - there for under the age of 12 months. Also I would take into consideration for any infant using the capsule past 6 months as to their development (their neck strength, are they walking? talking?) and their height!

I would think many smaller infants could safely use the capsule to 6-9 month, some maybe 12 months.

I think the confusion with infant/child  restraints is that they need to be considered over a spectrum of factors and not just weight, and there in lies most peoples confusion and why I am becoming trained.

Edited by emwill, 21 February 2013 - 03:58 PM.


#21 jm's mum

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

Sorry to jump in, slightly off-topic, but there seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people contributing here.

Can anyone point me to information or research that indicates a capsule is safer for a newborn than a rear-facing convertible seat intended for a newborn?

I am aware of CREP testing (hopefully it gets updated soon!) and would probably end up picking the safest available seat but was curious if there is any documented safety advantage to a capsule that is only used for ~ 6 months.

Thanks a lot original.gif

#22 IsolaBella

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

My knowledge of where capsule being safer (and dedicated FF and Booster seats) comes out of 2000 CREP testing where best rated seats were dedicated and RF/FF combos did neither well. Since then advancements in seats have been made, but old ideas still hold in people's minds.

CREP testing had the safety first capsule as the only 5star rated seat, but as mentioned above the Unity only got 1 star, so it depends on seat not type.



#23 ednaboo

Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:19 PM

QUOTE (#1ontheway @ 21/02/2013, 05:04 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can anyone point me to information or research that indicates a capsule is safer for a newborn than a rear-facing convertible seat intended for a newborn?

I do recall, when first shopping for a child restraint 8.5 years ago, that one organisation - it may have been RACV and it may have been CHOICE - used to always tout the line that a dedicated capsule was safer than a convertible, as a convertible was a compromise as it had two jobs to do (RF and FF).  But CREP results don't neccesarily support that view.  So be guided by CREP.

#24 emwill

Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:26 PM

Even in the current CREP results you can see prior to 2012 the dedicated reward facing infant restraints rated better than convertible restraints. I don't know why any dedicate reward facing restraints were not tested in the last CREP tests?
Also the testing methods prior to 2012 were different so it is not possible to directly compare them.
I would love to know how the dedicated rewards facing restraints compare to the new all in one types?
But the fact that they still have the prior to 2012 results listed for reference, show that they are not omitted but updated. Probably why fewer were tested.
Totally agree with lsolaBella that it depends on seat (restraint) not type. And then how that seat restraint fits your car and circumstances - they all have to work together to fit like a jigsaw puzzle.
There really is not one hard and fast restraint, only laws and guidelines to help guide you to find what works best in your situation.

http://www.crep.com.au/crep-results.php
http://www.raa.com.au/page.aspx?TerID=787




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