Are Rear-Facing Car Seats Really That Safe for Babies in Rear-End Car Accidents?


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What’s more important than your child’s health and safety? Um, nothing. And that’s why making sure that they’re buckled or strapped into the car completely right is absolutely essential. Recent research from the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center looked at the safety and effectiveness of rear-facing car seats in the event of a rear-impact collision. And what did the study find?

Study researcher Julie Mansfield and her team tackled the serious subject by crash testing rear-facing seats. While it’s a common question for parents to wonder how a rear-impact collision affects their child (who is facing the rear end of the car), the answer doesn’t seem to be as ugly as we may have all feared.

As it turns out, rear-facing seats are effective in keeping kiddos safe in a rear-impact collision. That is, they’re safe when used and installed correctly. This means the rear-facing seat is a safe choice, as long as it fits for the child’s age, height and weight. It also means that you have to read the manufacturer’s directions carefully when installing it. Mansfield and her colleagues found that the features and mechanisms that rear-facing car seats have can protect infants and young toddlers by absorbing the crash’s energy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) currently recommends that infants and toddlers remain in rear-facing car seats until they’re 2-years-old or meet the manufacturer’s weight or height guidelines.

Does this research change your view on car seat use? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

—Erica Loop


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