Family & Parenting

Study Shows Rear-Facing Carseats Are Safest In Rear-Impact Collisions

If you're driving with young children in the car, you'll want to read this.

Everyone knows that babies and young children should always be in a secure car seat while traveling, but there has been some debate as to whether that car seat should face forward or backwards. Although American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children up to two years old travel in rear-facing car seats, there has been some concern that this may not be the safest position for children in the event of a rear-end collision.

Now a new study confirms that rear-facing car seats are the safest option, even for rear-end collisions, which account for one-fourth of accidents. The study was conducted by researchers at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and published in the journal SAE International.

The team conducted crash tests with multiple rear-facing car seats, OSU explained. When used correctly, all were effective in absorbing crash forces while also controlling the motion of the child.

car seat photo
Getty Images | Araya Diaz

“Even though the child is facing the direction of the impact, it doesn’t mean that a rear-facing car seat isn’t going to do its job,” Julie Mansfield, lead author of the study and research engineer at Ohio State College of Medicine’s Injury Biomechanics Research Center, said. “It still has lots of different features and mechanisms to absorb that crash energy and protect the child.”

Rear-facing car seats have already saved the lives of children in car crashes.

Heather Hope was killed in a rear-end collision while driving with her 16-month-old daughter Anastacia in 2016. Anastacia, who was strapped in a rear-facing car seat, survived the accident with only minor injuries.

car seat safety photo
Getty Images | Rachel Murray

Heather’s sister, Amber Hope, said that her sister was very careful in picking out a car seat and would be glad to know it saved her young daughter’s life.

“It paid off and I’m so thankful and I know she would be so happy knowing that her daughter is still here with us,” she told CBS News.

It’s important that car seats and booster seats be installed properly for maximum effectiveness in a crash. The National Highway Safety Traffic Safety Administration has official guidelines regarding car seat safety.