Is a rearward-facing car seat really better?

The sheer number of car seat options available to parents of young children can be unnerving. How do you know which car seat is safest for your child? Considering the fact that the price of the car seat is not always an indicator of quality, parents have to do a lot of sleuth work when selecting the best seat on the market. One piece of information revealed by a recent safety study, however, will put parent's minds at ease concerning the safety of rear-facing car seats.

Rear-facing car seats have been the recommended choice for toddlers for quite some time. Most safety experts agree that these seats provide the best protection for children up to about 3 years of age. Previous studies backed up these claims for side- and front-impact crashes, but for rear-impact crashes, no studies had been performed until the Ohio State University Injury Biomechanics Research Center published its safety study findings earlier this month.

According to Ohio State University scientists, their tests have proven the superiority of the rear-facing design for children who are 2 years of age and under. Researchers utilized crash test dummy and precision tools in controlled tests to determine the risks to babies sitting in rearward-facing car seats when a car crash happens from behind. The results of the study revealed that rear-facing seats are, indeed, the best option for babies up to 2 years of age.

Whenever a child is hurt in a serious auto crash, it's a tragedy beyond measure. For this reason, parents need to make sure they buy the safest car seats available. Parents should also make sure the seats fit their children, and that they install them according to the instructions. Also, if a child is injured in a car crash while sitting in a car seat, parents may want to investigate whether the design of the car seat may have contributed to the child's injuries and whether they can hold the car seat manufacturer financially responsible.

Source: ABC News, "How rear-facing car seats perform in rear-impact crashes," Joseph Cafone, April 03, 2018

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