Rear facing advantages
Our babies usually switch from infant car seats to their new forward-facing car seats around their first birthday or when they weigh approx. 9 kg. This is a big event celebrated by many parents as some sort of a turning point in their child's life, testifying to their child's development.
However, many traffic safety experts and paediatricians warn that this switch is made at least one year too soon. With adults, the seat belt distributes the force of impact over the strongest parts of their body (i.e. hips, shoulders).
A small child has few body parts strong enough to sustain such forces. The child has a relatively large head compared to the rest of the body and rather undeveloped neck bones. When in a forward-facing car seat and properly restrained, the child's shoulders and body are generally protected. In case of a major collision, however, the child's head, neck and arms are thrown forwards with a tremendous force, which can cause stretching or even breaking the spinal cord. There is no restraint for child's head or neck.
A rear-facing car seat spreads out the force of impact across the entire back, neck and head of the child. His/her entire body is supported by the car seat.
Experiences in other countries are quite positive:
Sweden, for example, where children are generally driven rear-faced until the age of 4, has the lowest percentage of highway traffic deaths among children under the age of 6.
Each car seat shift, be it from rear- to forward facing position or from a forward-facing car seat to a booster seat, is a step backwards in terms of your child's safety.
Rear-facing car seats are a novelty for some parents and novelties are sometimes hard to accept. We wish and believe that when our children grow up, they will be appalled at the thought of having been driven around in forward-facing car seats. Just like we cannot believe that the babies and children of our generation were driven around seated in parent's laps, with no seat belts at all.
Highest level of safety
Providing their child with the highest level of safety suited to the child's age, size and weight should be every parent's first priority. Child safety should be guaranteed for each car journey, no matter how short.
Why rear-facing car seats? Because they are 5 x safer!
Rear facing facts
1. When your child is facing forward in case of a head-on collision, his/her shoulders and stomach are protected by the safety belt, whereas the force of impact places a heavy load on the child's neck, head and spine.
2. In crash, tests have shown, that the dummie's necks were stretched by 2 cm. Child's spinal cord may only be stretched by up to 0.6 cm without rupturing. Such a stretch would result in paralysis or even death.
3. When your child is facing rearwards, his/her head, neck and spine are supported and protected by the car seat shell in case of collision. At the speed of 50km/h, the neck of a forward-facing child is subjected to a force equal to 180 - 300 kg. A rear-facing child's neck is only exposed to force equal to 40 - 80 kg.
The child can suffer severe injuries with loads exceeding 130 kg.
4. Rear-facing car seats reduce the risk of car accident deaths by 90 – 95%, while forward-facing car seats reduce this risk by only 50 – 60%. (Source: NTF)
5. An analysis of the protection provided in rear-facing car seats compared with forward-facing car seats has shown, that children under the age of 2 are 75% less likely to die or suffer severe body injuries when in a rear-facing car seat. (Source: Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics)
6. In forward-facing seats, babies under 12 months of age are 1.79 times more likely to sustain severe body injuries than if seated in rear-facing car seats. Between 12 and 23 months of age, rear-facing children are 5.32 times safer. (Source: Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics)
7. Driving your child in a rear-facing car seat provides more protection even in case of other accidents, especially lateral collisions, which are less frequent but more dangerous. (SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A.)
8. Between July 2006 and November 2007 not one child under the age of 6 died in Sweden due to a car accident. Most children in Sweden are seated in rear-facing car seats until 4 years of age.
9. There have been no reports of leg injuries with children seated in rear-facing car seats.
10. In 2008, ANEC published an extended study establishing that no negative aspects could be found to rear-facing car seats.
11. All car passengers must use properly fastened seat belts to avoid injuring children in rear-facing car seats installed on passenger front seat in case of head-on collision.
12. If your child's car seat is installed on your passenger front seat, your vehicle's air bags must be deactivated.