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why is rear facing safest?

Rear-facing has been proven to be up to five times safer when compared to forward facing and saves children’s lives every day. The facts are clear, rear-facing safety makes a huge difference for your child in the event of an accident.

Yet, we see terrifying numbers of small children travelling forward facing and even without a car seat at all. This is the reason why we must raise our voices, to spread the safety message about rear-facing for all children’s right to travel in the safest direction – rear-facing.

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Why is rear-facing better? A rear-facing car seat’s biggest advantage is the superior protection it offers to your child’s head, neck and spine in the event of a collision. The rear-facing car seat shell protects your child and distributes the crash forces over a larger area and therefore significantly reduces the forces acting upon the neck.

In the event of a collision the chances of surviving or avoiding severe injuries increases significantly if your child is travelling in a rear-facing car seat instead of a forward-facing car seat. Why rear-facing car seats are safer, is because a child’s head is disproportionate to the body and equates to approximately 25% of the total bodyweight in comparison to an adult where the head only counts for about 6% of the total bodyweight. In addition to this, a child’s neck is incredibly vulnerable as it is not fully developed. The sensitive neck in addition to the head’s weight makes it even more important to protect and support the child’s neck for as long as possible.

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The graph above illustrates the huge difference in neck forces that a child is exposed to in a frontal collision in a rear-facing car seat (green line) and forward-facing car seat (red line). During impact in a forward-facing seat, crash forces are being transferred to the child’s neck, creating enormous tension in the neck

Why you should not forward-face your child too early
Apart from the given obvious physical reasons for children’s need to travel in a rear-facing car seat and the huge safety benefits that comes with it. There are also some crucial psychological reasons to consider for your child’s safety.

Even though you think your child is a “big-boy/girl” and is old enough to travel forward facing, is your child psychologically mature for that step?

For many forward-facing car seats, the child is restrained using the vehicle’s three-point seat belt which is flexible and moves with your child’s movements. For your little one to benefit from the vehicles safety system, your child should sit very still and proper, not play with or stretch the belt, nor move from side to side or lean forward. To achieve this perfect seating position is hard, if not impossible, since we all know that children are active and sitting still is not easy, especially in a car seat that heavily depends on safety.

The safety for your child begins even before the crash, with that in mind – Let your child be a child for as long as possible and let them stay rear-faced. A rear-facing car seat, due to its simple yet robust design, will always give your child superior support and safety, even if the child’s position in the car seat might not always be perfect.

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