Most studies suggest rear-facing car seats provide more protection for infants than front-facing seats. Not all parents are aware of the advantages of rear-facing seats or when they should face their children forward.
According to AAA, rear-facing car seats provide support to the child’s neck, head, and spine. They distribute the forces from a crash across the shell of the car seat.
AAA’s research suggests backward-facing seats are much safer than front-facing seats. Its studies say two-year-olds are five times less likely to die or be seriously hurt in a crash if they ride in a rear-facing car seat.
Aim to keep your children in rear-facing seats as long as possible, at least until they are two-years-old. AAA states infants under that age are too weak to withstand the powerful forces of a car wreck without the extra protection afforded by a child seat.
Parents with a child under the age of 24 months should not flip their children forward because the position may elevate the risk of neck, head or spinal cord injuries.
Although bodies like AAA and other organizations provide detailed advice about front and rear-facing car seats, many parents fail to provide adequate child seats for infants or fit child seats improperly in their cars.
Inadequate restraint of children is a major cause of deaths and injuries. The New York Times reported 2,885 children died in motor vehicle accidents nationwide in the four years from 2010 to 2014. Every week, an average of 11 children die on our roads.
Most of the children who died were not in car seats or wearing seatbelts. The report stated, 43 percent were improperly restrained or not restrained at all. Parents placed a further 15 percent in the front seat of a car, an SUV, a van or a truck.
When Should Children Move to Rear-Facing Seats?
Georgia law is not specific about when a child should be moved from a backward to a front-facing seat. However, the law states children under the age of 8 whose height is less than 57 inches must always ride in the back seat of a car. A child is much safer in the back. The child is protected from an airbag if it deploys during an accident. Airbags are designed to save the lives of adults. However, the force of an airbag deploying may kill a child.
Children under the age of 8 are required to sit in either a car seat or a booster seat suitable for their age and height.
Some vehicles lack back seats. Georgia law allows a child under the age of 8 to sit in the front seat. He or she must be restrained in an appropriate seat.
Every seat manufactured or sold in the U.S. must meet strict federal government safety standards. You should not put your child in a used seat or one that has been damaged in an accident.
To find out more about child safety seats see these nine common child restraint mistakes by the Mayo Clinic or our tips on restraining children in cars.
Children should remain in rear-facing car seats as long as possible. If the actions of another driver harmed your child, call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.