Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics increased the age at which children should remain in rear-facing car seats. On the heels of that recommendation came a study that revealed infants in rear-facing car seats could be prone to head injuries in rear-end automobile accidents. Experts have expressed concerns – in both terms of safety and parental compliance – since the publication of that study. Know and understand the risks, and how you can best prevent injury to your child in a rear-end collision.
Why Rear-Facing Until Age Two?
Infants and children under the age of two are still developing neck and back control. Their spines, heads, and internal organs are also still especially prone to injury during this time. Rear-facing child seats help support the head, neck, and spine and can reduce the odds of injuries to internal organs. In fact, according to numerous studies, infants are five times safer riding backwards, thanks to the extra support that rear-facing car seats provide. This is true, despite the recent findings.
Inertia and Head Injuries in Rear-Facing Car Seats
The laws of inertia essentially mean that the car seat (and the infant contained within it) may movie in a trajectory that could (and sometimes does) cause the car seat to lift, tilt toward the rear of the car, and make contact with the seat to which it is secured. This, in and of itself, was not surprising to the authors of the most recent study. What was surprising was the force at which the infant crash dummies hit the attached seat. This was especially true for car seats that were attached using the vehicle’s lower “LATCH” anchors.
Understanding the Real Risks in a Rear-End Collision
Although the study did highlight some serious issues with rear-facing car seats in rear-end collisions, children are actually more prone to death or injury during front-end crashes and side-collisions. These types of accidents are also more likely to occur than rear-end collisions. Furthermore, the study did not prove that rear-facing car seats are unsafe; it only highlighted a potential problem that needs further research to improve overall safety. As such, parents should continue to follow the current car seat installation and placement recommendations.
Keeping Your Child Safe in a Crash
Given the information found in the most recent study, parents may wish to install rear-facing car seats using the car’s seatbelt instead of the “LATCH” system. Additionally, all car seats should be carefully secured and installed according to the seat’s included instructions. Any concerns regarding installation can be addressed at your local police or fire department, or at your local health department.
Child Injured in an Car Wreck? Our Attorneys Can Help
Even when you do everything right, children may still sustain injuries in an automobile accident. If it has happened to your child, The Bettersworth Law Firm can help. Dedicated to aggressively representing your rights and best interest, we can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free initial consultation with an experienced New Braunfels car crash attorney. Call us at 830-443-9193 today.