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  1. #1
    Forum Ambassador TechnoGranola's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    What's your opinion on the design of RF seats in NA?

    After scoping out a bunch of foreign seats that are built for RF longer, it seems that ALL of them tether RF. Some even seem to provide more leg room for older kids (like the new Recaro Polaric).

    It seems that all North American seats are built with the concept "a child will use this until they are 1 year old, then will be forward facing after that". So, RF angles are designed to be at 45 degrees, even though a more upright install is often more comfortable, fits better in a vehicle, and is safer* for older kids.

    So, even though we have seats that can accommodate taller and heavier kids now, it seems they haven't fully considered a design for older kids. For example, wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to do crazy tricks to get a seat to install more upright (pulling restraint away from seat bight which worries me that they aren't designed to be installed this way!), and they actually designed the seat with TWO RF angles or heck, how about an infinite recline foot like the infant SafeSeat has?

    What about the worry of broken legs? Of course broken legs are better than the alternatives which can result from forward facing, but wouldn't it be cool if seats were also designed to aid in broke leg prevention? For example, the extended RF seats built for other countries all tether, perhaps ALL of ours built to hold larger kids should too? If tethering helps to prevent rebound, wouldn't that also prevent broken legs?

    I'd like to hear the opinions of others!

    * I DID read this on this board that there is some info showing that older kids are better off being less reclined. I don't have the thread right now, but will try to find it if needed!
    Last edited by TechnoGranola; 03-07-2008 at 02:31 PM.

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  3. #2
    Carseat Crazy
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Re: What's your opinion on the design of RF seats in NA?

    I'm with ya. I wish they would design seats better for ERF! I have a 2 y/o that has some growth problems everywhere but her head. She is just BARELY over the bottom slots in our RA (was recently moved to the WZ/BLVD, whichever she choses, LOL), but her head is closing in, quickly, on the 1" rule. She is just over 23lbs now, and she will RF to the max of the seats, even longer, if I could find a bigger seat to RF! Her head is just that much too big for her body.


  4. #3
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Edmonton, AB, Canada

    Re: What's your opinion on the design of RF seats in NA?

    What I am able to tell you definitively is that current FMVSS standards prohibit the use of a leg prop the way that most EU seats have. They have to have them in order to position the seat the way they do.. this was discussed in the rf'ing article that was in the journal of injury prevention.

    The question raised in that article, is if it's possible for US manufacturers to make seats with higher rf'ing weight limits that would still meet FMVSS standards, and that it may be possible FMVSS standards would have to be re-written somewhat to make allowances.

    Link to abstract for the article: (I don't have link to entire article.)

    These findings also have significant implications for car seat manufacturers. Although RFCS designs have changed in recent years to accommodate older children, few if any restraints are available in the USA of appropriate size for children up to their 2nd birthday. These research findings in concert with higher demand for these restraints should encourage new RFCS designs. At higher weight limits, however, some RFCS designs may not be able to pass current US testing standards. Larger RFCSs are available in Europe, which often incorporate support legs or bases which extend to the vehicle floor to support the restraint. Support legs are currently not allowed in US safety standards, although these regulations should be reviewed if these designs prove to be beneficial.
    * RFCS stands for rear facing car seat

    One can hope that maybe this article will be a lift off point and might start more research into the area and perhaps start the process that would create change in the standards, but you never know... I think it would be great if they could design rf'ing seats with 55lb weight limits and height limits the same as they have in sweden, but I'm not sure that agencies will ever get on board with moving towards changing regulations that much... And there's always the ever present issue of vehicle compatibility problems - especially if seats had to be rf tethered.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.

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