Rearward Facing Group 1 CCS. Advise use of rear facing child car seats for children under 4 years old

  • Published: British Medical Journal (BMJ), 11 June 2009
  • Authors: Elizabeth A Watson, and Michael J Monteiro
  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 23 Jul 2013
  • Format: html

Objectives:

To explain why it is safer for young children to travel in a rear facing seat until they are 4 years old.

Methodology:

Literature Review

Key Findings:

  • Many babies are switched from a rear facing car seat to a forward facing seat at 9 kg (8 months of age for a boy on the 50th centile)

  • The relatively large head mass and differences in the anatomy of the cervical spine in young children can lead to excessive stretching or even transection of the spinal cord if a child is involved in a frontal (head-on) crash while in a forward facing car seat.

  • Rear facing seats are safer than forward facing seats for children under 4 years old

  • Parents and guardians should be advised to keep young children in rear facing seats for as long as possible

  • In many countries it is a legal requirement that children under a certain height or age (1 m 35 cm or 12 years, in the United Kingdom) to use child restraints appropriate for their weight while travelling in a car. This significantly reduces morbidity and mortality.

  • Many babies are switched from a rear facing to forward facing seat at 9 kg (age 8 months for a boy on the 50th centile. However, evidence is mounting, however, that it is safer for young children to travel in a rear facing seat until 4 years of age.

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