Did you know that your child is up to 5 times safer in a rear-facing car seat than in a forward-facing car seat? This means in that in the event of a collision the chances of surviving or avoiding serious injuries increases if your child is travelling in rear-facing car seat instead of a forward-facing car seat. You probably wondering why? Well, we will tell you why.
The reason for this is that a child’s head is disproportionate to the body and makes up to 25% of the total body weight in comparison to an adult where the head only counts for about 6% of the total bodyweight. At the same time, a child’s neck is extra vulnerable since it is not fully developed yet. The sensitive neck in combination with the head’s weight makes it even more important to protect and support the child’s neck for as long as possible.
Frontal crash tests show that the forces acting on the neck is about five times greater when the child sits forward-facing compared to rear-facing. During impact in a forward-facing seat the body is being pushed out of the car seat with only the belt keeping the upper body in place, but the head still wants to move forward. This results in crash forces being transferred to the child’s neck, creating enormous tension in the neck.
A rear-facing car seat’s biggest advantage is that it supports the child’s entire back, neck and head, distributing the crash forces over a larger area and therefore significantly reduces the forces acting on the neck. Therefore, a rear-facing car seat gives your child better protection and reduces the risk of injury in the event of a collision.
Although the general recommendations say that children should ride rear facing up to the minimum age of 4, they should continue to ride rear-facing for as long as possible, for their own safety.
To wrap it up: Rear-facing IS much safer than forward-facing, so for the sake of your child – choose a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible!