Toddlers from birth up to 18kg (approx. 4 years) in rear-facing child seats are considerably safer than those riding in forward-facing seats with harness system. In rear-facing car seats the forces of an impact are distributed evenly over a large area. The strain on the neck, head and chest is significantly reduced.
A baby’s head is equal to 25% of its overall body weight
In most countries, car accidents remain the main cause of death among children over the age of one. Statistically, the risk of injury in ECE Group 1 forward-facing child seats with a conventional harness system (9–18 kg, approx. 9 months to 4 years) in a head-on collision is significantly higher compared to Group 0+ rear-facing baby seats (0–13 kg, 0–approx. 18 months), as the child’s head is still bigger and heavier in relation to the body. A baby’s head is equal to 25% of its overall body weight. In a forward-facing car seat with a conventional five-point harness system, the shoulders of the child are held back in a head-on collision, while the head is flung forward with enormous force.
Rear-facing reduces the risk of injury
A rear-facing car child seat reduces the risk of injury when it comes to a head-on collision compared to forward-facing seats with harness system:
- the force of an impact is distributed evenly over a large area.
- the child seat acts like a shield, protecting the head, neck and inner organs.
- the strain on the sensitive neck, head as well as inner organs is significantly reduced.
Experts recommend to prolong the time that children travel rear-facing
Statistics from countries with mostly rear-facing Group 1 child seats (e.g. Sweden) show that the risk of injury in Group 1 seats compared to seats in Group 0+ remains stable. In markets with mainly forward-facing Group 1 seats with harness system (e.g. UK, Germany) the risk of injury in comparison to Group 0+ seats rises significantly. Doctors, accident researchers, as well as consumer and health organisations such as Which?, German independent consumer testing organisation Stiftung Warentest, and Germany’s biggest motoring club, the ADAC therefore recommend to prolong the time that children travel rear-facing beyond Group 0+.