The safety of your kids is probably your number one worry day in and day out. Something I do not skimp on is the safety of my kids in the car. Did you know that car seat rules in the USA has recently changed? Yep, it use to be that you could turn your baby forward facing at the age of 1 year old but now laws have changed that at the age of two you can switch them. Does that mean you should though? Recently a consumer research study was pioneered by Phill Jones, Commercial Director, who was frustrated by the lack of information on the availability of rear facing car seats for children above the age of eighteen months, or over 28lbs in weight.
It found that, despite evidence which supports the idea that rear-facing car seats are five times safer for children in the event of an accident than forward facing car seats, in the UK there is an alarming lack of information available to parents on the topic. The researched commissioned by Motors.co.uk also revealed that over half of UK parents (53% of those interviewed) felt that information on rear facing car seats is inconsistent or confusing, and 52% of parents would buy a rear facing car seat if they were more widely available in the UK.
Statistics. According to Crashtest.Com, frontal and frontal offset crashes combine for about 72% of severe crashes. Side impacts are about 24%. Rear and rear offset crashes only account for about 4%. The NHTSA FARS database shows similar numbers. The odds of being in a frontal crash with a fatality or very serious injury are many times greater than being in a severe rear-end crash. Rear-enders are more common at lower speeds, though most injuries in these crashes are not as severe – typically, whiplash injuries to adults, especially passengers lacking proper head restraint. ~ Car-Safety.org
In the Nordics and US, rear facing car seats are commonplace and legal guidelines state that children should be kept rear-facing until the age of four (or 35-55lbs in weight). In the UK, however, children may be placed in forward facing car seats once they reach the group 1 band which caters for children of 13kg and above, or eighteen months to four years.
How do you feel about this? Although it doesn’t affect you personally (if you’re here in the USA), do you feel all kids should be rear facing as long as possible?
Disclosure: I wrote this post on behalf motors.co.uk. Compensation was received for my time. All opinions are my own.