Did you know that the rear-facing car seat is a Swedish innovation? The rear-facing car seat was invented in the 1960s and is one of the reasons why Sweden is the best country in the world on protecting children in traffic.
Different studies based on actual accidents show that the risk of death or serious injury in a collision increases about 5 times for children who travel in forward-facing car seats, compared to children travelling in rear-facing car seats.
When you look at the statistics of Swedish accidents and compare the numbers from other countries, we can see that in countries where they use forward-facing car seats from the age of one year, the injury of the children increases with four times more, from the ages zero up to one year.
In Sweden, we start to see an increased frequency of injuries, during the age of 3-4 years old, because that is when Swedish parents start to have their children forward-facing in the car. The increase of injuries isn’t as tough since the children’s neck are more developed and stronger than when they are younger.
A nine months old baby has 25% of their body weight in their head, compared to an adult that has 6% of their body weight in the head.
Children aren’t a miniature of an adult; the children’s head is very big and heavy compared to their body and the muscles and ligament in their neck aren’t fully developed.
In a frontal collision, which is the most common type of collision in traffic, the risk increases for huge neck damages and death if the children travel in a forward-facing car seat. The impact on the head, neck, and back becomes significantly lower in a rear-facing car seat. The reason is that the rear-facing car seats provide better support for the head and neck when the head and body are decelerated at the same time.
When sitting in a forward-facing car seat, the upper body is hurled in the moment of the crash until the seat belt stops the speed, but the head continues forward at the same speed as the car had before the crash. A heavyweight is then placed on the neck to stop the head’s forward movement.
For children travelling in a rear-facing car seat, at least nine out of ten are saved from serious injuries.
Many recommend that children should travel in a rear-facing car seat up to at least 4-5 years old. We at Axkid always recommends having your children travelling in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, up to 25 kg and 6 years. The reason is that the safety and protection effect is 90-95% in a rear-facing car seat, compared to 60-70% in a forward-facing car seat.