Rear-Facing: a Deeper-Dive
I've talked about rear-facing before. In fact, I've done a few videos on the topic (check it out here) and talked about it to I-don't-know-how-many parents at car seat clinics. Legit, it's one of the most important things you can do to keep kiddos safe in the car!
I've talked about it so many times, I have a go-to script. It goes something like this....
"A frontal collision is when your car crashes into an object, like a tree or oncoming vehicle. It's the most common and the most dangerous type of collision. During a frontal collision, everything is forced to the front of the vehicle. The driver will jerk forward and the child will be pushed towards the front of the vehicle. If the child is rear-facing in the car seat, they're pushed into their seat and their head, neck, back & bum nicely aligned, spreading the impact over the entire spine.
When the child is front-facing, their head moves towards the front of the vehicle, but because their body is harnessed, the impact is taken up in their neck."
I've repeated this script so many times, I'm a rear-facing cheerleader!!
I did a IG story about rear-facing recently and a mom popped into my DMs. She told me that she explained this to her husband and he said, "What if we get rear-ended? It's the opposite. You get pushed towards the BACK of the vehicle". She didn't know what to answer.
The quick truth is: Yes, 100%, he's right... but in reality, it doesn't matter. Bear with me as I nerd-out.... Check out this video!
There's 3 types of collisions: frontal (ex; you slip on ice and collide with an oncoming vehicle or a tree), rear-end (ex; you're stopped at the light and buddy behind you looks at his phone and runs into the back of your car) and T-bone or side-impact (ex; you're driving through an intersection and someone blows the red light and collides with the side of your vehicle).
So, the truth is during a collision, any type, everything in the vehicle is pushed towards the point of impact. You'll jerk forward in a frontal collision, you'll jerk back when you're rear-ended and your head might hit the window if someone T-bones you.
Car seats are crash-tested in a frontal collision, only. Why?
Frontal: It's the most common and can cause the most bodily harm because it can happen at very high speeds. It's often the cause of vehicle-related deaths.
Rear-end: This happens at lower speeds, often around a street light or stop sign and does less damage (like way less!!).
T-Bone: same as above, however, car seats somewhat protect kids for side-impact with the head rest. The big wings beside the child's head aren't only for napping!
In conclusion, car seats are designed and rules, like extended rear-facing, are created to ensure your child safely survives a frontal collision.
Well, I hope that was helpful and not incredibly boring! Let's face it, the topic of car seat safety isn't the most thrilling subject! Hopefully, I didn't give you a first class ticket to Snoozeville!
Natalie, founder of Bundle Baby