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Montlick and Associates Notes New Evidence Showing Rear Facing Car Seats Keep Kids Safer

July 31, 2014

Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are firmly committed to promoting child safety. We are involved in a number of programs designed to increase awareness about child safety issues, especially those involving motor vehicle safety. Because of our commitment to this goal, we have reviewed with great interest a recent study that suggests rear facing car seats might keep children safer.

The study compared motor vehicle accidents in Sweden, which has a national policy that promotes rear facing car seats, with accident data in Germany. While children travel in rear facing car seats in Sweden until they are 3 or 4, Germany follows the practice in most countries of having children start to face forward at the age of 12 months. The researchers compared crash data for one-year-olds in both countries to determine whether the transition toward front facing car seats impacted the number of fatalities. While accident rates peaked in Germany with 37 fatalities among one-year-olds, Sweden had no fatalities among one-year-olds during the same period.

The researchers provided an explanation for the benefits of keeping children in a rear facing car seat longer. During a frontal collision, a child's head typically is propelled forward from the force of the impact. The forward momentum in a frontal crash causes the child's head to be forced downward toward the child's chest and then back again. While adult's necks typically can withstand this strain, a young child's neck cannot handle this sudden violent jerking of the head and neck. When kids are in a rear facing car seat the force on the body is dispersed throughout the child's spine rather than being concentrated on the neck. If a children are young and small, the snapping motion of their head, which a disproportionately heavy, can result in broken necks, damaged spinal cords and severe traumatic brain injuries.

The concept of rear facing car seats was actually designed by a Swedish safety expert in 1967. The safety expert based the design of rear facing car seats on special seating used by astronauts during take-offs and landings. The seats on the Gemini mission spaceship were designed to distribute the G force over the whole back to ease the strain on the neck.

Because the back is much stronger than the neck, this distribution of energy can protect children from fatal neck and head injuries. Prior research has revealed that small children are five time more likely to suffer serious injury or death in a front facing car seat than a rear facing car seat. During a frontal crash, a rear-facing car seat permits little or no force to be applied to the neck, spine or head because the car seat cradles the upper body and head.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Experience to Work For You

While rear facing car seats can keep small children safer, there will still be accidents caused by negligent drivers that cause injuries to children. If your child is injured in an auto accident, we are committed to seeking the compensation your family needs to promote the fullest and fastest physical recovery. Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer all types of serious personal injuries throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.


Car Safety Seats for Children: rear-facing For Best Protection; Injury Prevention 2007; 13:398-402.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.