You might have heard of ERF which stands for Extended Rear Facing. Depending on where you live this might mean completely different things. Unfortunately, most parents choose to turn children forward facing far too early. In most countries, keeping a child rear facing longer than 12 months would be considered extended rear facing.
In Sweden, where the recommendation is to keep children rear facing until age 4, ERF is rarely discussed. Rear facing until age 4 is almost a default behavior by parents. Since 1965, but mainly during the past 25 years, parents have been told to keep their children rear facing to save lives. Fortunately, most have listened. Although the European law permits forward facing at any age it’s unusual to see children under age three forward facing in Sweden. Most other European countries, except for Norway, are not following these recommendations and have a long way to go.
Information to parents have paid off and most are doing a great job keeping children safe
From 1992 through June 1997, only 9 children properly restrained rear-facing died in motor vehicle crashes in Sweden, and all of these involved catastrophic crashes with severe intrusion and few other survivors.
How long should I keep my child rear facing? It’s a common question with an easy anser. For as long as possible. Depending on car seat used this might mean 18 months or 5 years. Rear facing is ALWAYS better, even for adults like you and me.