Why Look Back?

73%

Less
Tension
on the
Neck1

At Joie, our mission is to keep kids safer. For this reason, we consulted with doctors and child safety experts worldwide to better understand the effects of a car crash on a child’s growing body. They agree rearward facing as long as possible is the safest way to go. When a child is riding rearward facing, the car seat absorbs the impact, protecting the child’s head, neck and spine — even up to 73% more than forward facing.1

Reasons to Face Rearward

Caution Ahead

Most crashes are at the front or from the side with a front angle

Front Facing Danger

A child’s body is propelled forward, which can result in severe injury

Rearward Facing Safety

A child’s body is securely cocooned while the safety seat absorbs the impact

Facing the Facts

Crashes

Most crashes and the most severe crashes happen at the front of a vehicle. In fact, 62% of crashes are frontal, and while 25% of crashes are from the side, nearly all of these have a frontal component.2

Facing the Facts

Forward

When forward facing, children move forward during a crash, leaving the protective cocoon of the child safety seat.

While the body is held in place by the harness system, the child’s limbs and disproportionately heavy head fly forward, causing strain on the neck.

Facing the Facts

Rearward

During a frontal crash, a child’s body moves into the safety seat, which spreads the force over the entire body and absorbs the impact.

This not only protects the child from flying debris or intrusions into the vehicle, but also prevents extreme strain on their delicate body.

Reinforced by Research

“...relatively few passenger cars involved in fatal collisions are struck in rear locations (5%) compared with front (62%) and side (25%) impact locations.”2

- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 1995. (DOT-HS-808–471.) Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, 1996.

“When in an FFCS [forward facing car seat], a frontal crash component causes the child’s head to move forward and further away from the car seat, limiting or removing any benefit of the side wings.”3

- B Henary, C P Sherwood, J R Crandall, R W Kent, F E Vaca, K B Arbogast, M J Bull Injury Prevention 2007;13:398–402. doi: 10.1136/ip.2006.015115

Forward-facing infants and young children are particularly susceptible when compared with older children and adults to cervical spinal injuries because their relatively large head, lax cervical anatomy contributes to increased cervical spinal cord tension load during a frontal MVC [motor vehicle collision].”4

- Stalnaker RL. Spinal cord injuries to children in real world accidents. Child Occupant Protection 2nd Symposium. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE 933100), 1997:173–83.

“A rear-facing child seat reduces the risk of injury in a head-on collision by more than 80% when compared to a conventional forward-facing seat with harness system, as the force of an impact is distributed evenly over a large area.”5

- VTI – Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (Rapport 489A, 2003)

“In rear facing car seats, the head, neck, and spine are kept fully aligned, and the crash forces are distributed over all of these body areas.”6

- Elizabeth A Watson,1 Michael J Monteiro2 Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1994 doi:10.1136/bmj.b1994

“…children are less likely to suffer severe crash injuries when sitting in a rear-facing seat than in a front-facing seat.” It is “estimated that children were around 75% less likely to suffer severe injuries in rear-facing seats.”7

- http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/ 06June/Pages/CarSeatWarning.aspx citing research published in the British Medical Journal

Points of Protection

during impact when rearward facing vs. forward facing

70% less risk of head injury1

73% less tension on the neck1

34% less neck rotational force1

The Anatomy of Safety

Even adults would be safer sitting rearward facing, however young children’s delicate and developing bodies make riding rearward even more important.

Most Common Injury

Head injuries are the most common and most severe form of injury for children during a crash. This is because babies and toddlers have disproportionately large and underdeveloped skulls.8

Underdeveloped

In fact, the skull is not completely developed until age 20, and children’s skulls are particularly thin and pliable, making them more vulnerable to injury.8

Heavy & Delicate

What’s more, with the head composing approximately 25% of a child’s weight (compared to 6% in an adult), a child’s delicate musculature cannot sustain as much force on the head and neck.8

Small Spines

A child’s spine is hypermobile, and the vertebrae have not completely fused to form the protective column present in adults.8

Your Q’s & Our A’s

REARWARD RATIONALE VS. FORWARD FACTS
Globally renowned doctors, pediatricians and child safety experts answer your key rearward versus forward facing questions.

What about my child’s scrunched legs when rearward facing? It looks dangerous and uncomfortable.

What the doctors say:
Broken legs can be fixed. But injured spines are not so easy to repair.

Look back longer fact:
There are more leg injuries when kids are forward facing vs. rearward. When forward facing in an impact, the legs fly forward, hit the back of the front seat and break.

Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Reseach and Prevention. http://www.chop.edu/carseat

Since I can’t see my child’s spine developing, how do I know when it’s safe for my child to ride forward facing?

What the doctors say:
Although you cannot see the development, it gradually occurs through the first several years of a child’s life. Each child develops at a unique rate but according to the new i-Size ECE R129/00 children should ride rearward facing until at least 15 months. Many global safety experts recommend continuing past 15 months, up to two years, three years or even up to 4 years as required in Sweden.

Look back longer fact 1:
Medical professionals liken the child’s spinal development and head size to that of an apple on a stem. A surprising but effective way to describe how fragile and delicate young necks are compared to the disproportionate weight of their heads.

Look back longer fact 2:
Although an adult’s spine is more developed and head is more proportioned to the body as compared to a young child’s — even adults would be safer riding rearward facing!

Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Reseach and Prevention. http://www.chop.edu/carseat

Do any parents really keep their kids rearward facing up to 4 years old? How is that possible?

What the experts say:
Yes! Parents do. In fact, in Sweden children have been riding rearward facing up to 4 years old for the past 30 + years.

Look back longer fact:
According to Thomas Turbell, “over a million rearward-facing seats are in use in Sweden, and we do not know of any cases where a child in a rearward-facing car seat has been seriously injured in a frontal collision.” http://www.carseat.se/rearfacing/rear-facing-basics/

What about ease of loading my child into the car when rearward facing?

What the experts say:
It’s actually easier to load children when rearward vs. forward facing because the car door is not in the way.

Look back longer fact:
We tested this theory. The experts are right! Give it a try.

What about the social interaction we are missing when rearward facing?

What the experts say:
It is better to be safe than social.

Look back longer fact:
Children’s social skills develop through all types of communication, verbal and auditory. Plus they likely receive plenty of social stimulation outside your car drives. However, you can still talk, sing, play games and socially engage even without eye contact.

What about the fact all my other friends are turning their children forward? It just seems like it’s time. My child is very developed and looks ready.

What the experts say:
It is well understood you are excited for your child to grow, develop and progress. However changing from rearward to forward facing is one milestone you should delay as long as possible.

Look back longer fact:
You can be a trend setter and a safety advocate by being the first in your circle of friends to keep your child rearward even after your friends have switched their children forward facing. Maybe they will follow your lead and keep their children rearward facing longer. You could play a part in raising awareness, spreading the safety message and saving children’s lives.

Ready to Ride Rearward Longer?

Meet Joie's child safety seats that look back longer, up to 18kg and 4 years old.

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Straight to the Source

Click below to see a few of the sources utilised to learn the benefits of keeping children rearward facing longer:

1 2015 internal ECE testing with Q1.5 dummies. Based on performance averages of all Joie rearward and forward facing car seats.

2 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic safety facts 1995. (DOT-HS-808–471.) Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation, 1996.

3 B Henary, C P Sherwood, J R Crandall, R W Kent, F E Vaca, K B Arbogast, M J Bull Injury Prevention 2007;13:398–402. doi: 10.1136/ip.2006.015115

4 Stalnaker RL. Spinal cord injuries to children in real world accidents. Child Occupant Protection 2nd Symposium. Warrendale, PA: Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE 933100), 1997:173–83.

5 VTI – Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (Rapport 489A, 2003)

6 Elizabeth A Watson,1 Michael J Monteiro2 Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1994 doi:10.1136/bmj.b1994

7 http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/06June/Pages/CarSeatWarning.aspx citing research published in the British Medical Journal

8 Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention. http://www.chop.edu/carseat

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