When I first wrote about our Britax Two Way Elite almost a year ago, we had Arlo in quite a reclined position that left just enough, but not too much leg room for Sam in the passenger seat in front. I thought I’d write a little update now that we’ve lived with the car seat for over a year and have moved it to a more upright position.
Arlo a year ago (please note that we actually didn’t have the seat installed correctly in this photo, as a commenter pointed out to me in my first post on rearfacing seats. The back of the car seat should rest ON TOP of the back of the seat in front, like in the photo below)
From his constant chatter about various vehicles and buildings he’s spotted, I can tell that Arlo can see everything out of the side and rear windows. He’s never expressed an interest in sitting forward facing, and he seems very happy in his rear facing seat.
At two years old, Arlo rarely falls asleep in the car now (as opposed to this time last year when car naps were still one of our most reliable ways of getting him to sleep at all during the day), so the head-lolling thing that I was worried about by having him more upright isn’t really an issue.
As he grows taller, there is the option to have the seat even more upright and move the base of the car seat more towards the front of the seat it sits on, which would give both Arlo and Sam a few extra legroom inches (if you look at the photo you can see there are still a few spare inches of seat space behind the back of Arlo’s car seat that the base of the car seat could be shifted onto leaving a bigger space for Arlo’s legs against the backrest of the seat). However, Sam has been telling me that there is some issue with our car’s seat belt which will make this difficult to do. I’m not yet sure if this is a problem that can be solved, as I haven’t really listened in detail to the problem Sam is talking about (I think the seat belt is not long enough to allow for that kind of extension to the seat), and as Arlo still has plenty of legroom I’ve not yet looked into potential solutions for this issue (a seatbelt extension perhaps?)
Our Focus is 14 years old so this seatbelt thing might not be an issue with newer Focuses. I think we have a good couple of years before Arlo’s legs grow too big to comfortably fit in the car seat for short journeys in its current position, so we are going to cross that bridge when we come to it, and when that time comes it will probably involve a call to In Car Safety Centre to see if they have any ideas. I have heard that it’s safer for a child to have their knees bent up in order to fit in a rear facing seat than to face forward and I’ve seen photos of six-year olds with their legs bent at quite an angle but looking very happy in their rear facing seats still. Obviously, this is not ideal for long journeys, in this event we would probably turn Arlo’s seat forward facing if comfort really was an issue for him, but as Sam can’t drive and our car isn’t really up for the challenge, we don’t do many long journeys anyway so I can’t see this issue cropping up much.
What I like most about the Britax Two Way Elite is that it is so simple (you can’t buy a more simple seat than this), and it does its job very efficiently. I still find the straps a bit of a faff at times, but in honestly I think I would find this an issue with most car seats. Being one of the cheapest and most versatile rear facing car seat options (it lasts until 6 or 7 years of age and fits in the majority of cars), I would be more than happy to buy another Two Way Elite when it comes to Baby Two growing out of our group 0 seat.
I have yet to install the seat myself (I really should do this one day as it would be nice to know how to put the seat in someone else’s car without needing to rely on Sam being around), but Sam insists it’s really very simple and has moved the seat between our car and grandparent’s cars on numerous occasions.
If you are near Croydon, I really recommend Baby Nest on the Purley Way. They are really clued up about rear facing and have a couple of rear facing seats in the shop ready to test out.
If you can get to Milton Keynes, the In Car Safety Centre is your best bet for a rear facing one-stop shop. Their staff know everything there is to know about rear facing and they have a large selection of seats to choose from.
Alternatively, you can order a seat online like we did and fit it yourself (it was very easy according to Sam). Over the past year I’ve been pleased to note more online retailers starting to stock rear facing seats, such as Baby and Co