With so many car seat options it can be overwhelming and difficult for parents to choose a car seat that is appropriate for their little one. Children grow so fast that as soon as you’re informed and have the first car seat figured out here comes stage two and it’s back to the beginning. Read these Car Seat Safety Tips before you begin shopping for a child’s car seat.
Don’t prematurely move to forward-facing seats. These results should not be taken as evidence that you should move your child to a forward-facing orientation. Much more data shows that children are safer riding rear-facing and that they should continue to ride rear-facing at least until the age of two—even longer if the seat limits will allow.
Rear-end crashes aren’t as common. The results are important to consider when thinking of all of the crash scenarios that a child may experience in a car. But rear-end crashes are less frequent and typically cause fewer injuries to children than frontal crashes. Data cited in the article by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that rear-end collisions account for just 9 percent of injuries to children in car seats. In comparison, front-end collisions account for about 43 percent and side-impact crashes account for about 33 percent.
Proper fit-to-vehicle is key. Though this study shows better results for seat belt installed seats over LATCH installed seats, our extensive frontal crash tests and fit-to-vehicle evaluations show just the opposite. Our fit-to-vehicle analysis typically shows that LATCH provides an easier-to-achieve and more secure installation than seat belt installations for most seats. A seat that is securely installed is critical to protecting your child in all types of crashes.
Front- and side-crashes result in greater head injuries. Though the injury values in this study may sound alarming, we can assure you that the head injury values we see from instrumented dummies in frontal and initial side-impact tests are much higher than those in this study. In our own simulated crash tests, we also compare child seat performance based on a number of injury metrics that includes the head injury measurements used in this study. Based on that data, the contact of the child seat and child into the seatback in a rear-end crash is something to look at, but the potential for reducing injury and fatalities for kids in vehicle crashes appears to still be greater in the more prominent frontal and side crash modes.