Past Articles

Rear-Facing Car Seats Increase Child Safety During Real-Impact Collisions

Until recently, the call for rear-facing carseats has been predicated on results garnered from side-impact and head-on accidents, which are deadliest. However, a rear-impact collision has potential to cause head-and-neck injuries in infants and toddlers when the back-and-forth motion of the impact causes a whiplash effect. Experts agree that infants and toddlers should remain seated in rear-facing carseats until they’ve reached the age of two or until they’re too big to be positioned correctly for maximum front- and side-impact protection. A new study by Julie Mansfield of the Injury Biomechanics Research Center of Wexner Medical Center now proves this rear-facing position is protective even when the car is impacted from behind. The study used a crash-test dummy to demonstrate how crash energy is absorbed through the rear-facing seat to keep the child’s head, neck, and spine safely aligned. Employing four of the most commonly-used U.S. carseats, the study recreated a series of rear-impact collisions that found all four carseats, when used in the rear-facing position, allowed the crash energy to travel through the carseat and vehicle seat, reducing crash forces on the child’s body. In this scenario, the child is cradled by the seat, allowing the energy of the crash to be distributed evenly over the child’s back. Because the carseat and child move as one unit, the head and spine remain supported. These results should assure parents that keeping their children in rear-facing seats for as long as possible is the best way to protect them from injuries sustained in any collision scenario.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: SAE International, online April 3, 2018.