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New Study Looks at Whether Rear-Facing Car Seats Protect Children in Rear-End Crashes

the rear facing car seat

Most parents know that safety experts advise placing infants in rear-facing seats when they’re small, but some have concerns about whether a rear-facing seat is always best for child safety. A recent study looked at the safety of rear-facing car seats when cars are involved in rear-end accidents, rather than front- or side-impact crashes. Learn about the results of the study below, and contact a skilled Hawaii personal injury lawyer if you or your child has been injured in a crash.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children up to age 19.  Safety experts have found that a properly-installed car seat can reduce the risk of death in a car accident by as much as 71%. Parents are advised to use rear-facing seats for children beginning with infancy, for as long as the child meets the height and weight restrictions listed on the seat. Rear-facing seats have been found to distribute the force of a collision more evenly than front-facing seats. That said, researchers and parents have often wondered whether a child in a rear-facing seat could have the child’s head thrown into the back of the car’s front seats in the event of a rear-end crash.

The Ohio State University’s Injury Biomechanics Research Center set out to examine this question through simulated rear-end crashes. The researchers used crash test dummy infants placed in four common rear-facing car seats to find out whether the seats were able to protect occupants from head and neck damage in a rear-end crash. The researchers found that the seats were successful in protecting children from this type of injury in a crash. The study’s lead author, Julie Mansfield, explained that, “with a rear impact, we would expect occupants to be ‘pulled’ toward the rear of the vehicle according to basic physics. When a child is in a rear-facing car seat in this scenario, the car seat actually stays with the child and continues to support the head and spine.”

In Hawaii, infants from birth to one year old who are at least 20 pounds are required by law to ride in rear-facing seats. That said, pediatricians have long recommended that children remain in rear-facing seats as long as the child is within the height and weight limits of the seat itself. Rear-facing seats are now available with a weight limit of up to 45 pounds. The recent study provides further support for parents keeping their children in a rear-facing seat as long as possible to protect them in a crash.

For assistance in getting the money you need after a Hawaii car accident in Pahoa, Waikola Village, Keaau or Kailua-Kona, contact the seasoned and professional Hilo personal injury lawyer Louis P. Mendonca for a free consultation at 808-961-6690.

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