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Should You Be Concerned About the Safety of Your Child’s Rear Seat?

Learn why child rear safety seats could pose a threat to children during a car accident.

The Digest of Motor Laws published on the American Automobile Association (AAA) website, states that all 50 states have a child restraint law, with a majority of these states requiring child rear seats for children between birth and the age of 6.

Despite the fact that child rear seats have significantly reduced injuries and deaths caused by car accidents, there is growing evidence that the consequences of some types of car wrecks may be worse in these seats.

“No one would argue against the statistics that show how effective child safety seats have been when it comes to protecting kids from injuries and death,” stated Car Wreck attorney Amy Witherite of Witherite Law Group. “But what we’re finding out through safety crash tests is that there may be some real danger in where parents place a child’s rear seat.”

In fact, according to a piece on Autoblog written by Pete Bigelow, the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) has issued a report that urges parents to understand the dangers of placing a child rear safety seat directly behind an occupied front seat.

Bigelow quotes CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow who said:

“While the rear seat is the safest location for a child, it is safer still if the child is placed behind an unoccupied front seat or behind the lightest front-seat occupant.”

Ditlow said that this recommendation is based on studies that have found that the backs of some front seats tend to collapse in a rear-impact car accident. And when the car wreck occurs at a speed that exceeds 30 miles per hour, the front seatback can smash into children in rear safety seats, causing fatalities.

From 1990 to 2014, 900 children in rear safety seats were killed in rear-impact car accidents where a passenger occupied the front seat.

Although there is not enough information known about these deaths to confirm that they were all directly caused by the collapse of the front seatback, Ditlow believes that the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) should investigate the exact cause of those deaths.

Until cars on the American highway are equipped with adequately strong front seats and seatbacks, children in rear seats behind occupied front seats will continue to be in danger of death or severe injury from front seatback failures in rear-end impacts,” stated Bigelow.

So Where Do I Put The Seat?

Even prior to the findings of this new study, where you decide to put a child seat in the back has been the subject of some debate.

When the seats were first introduced, some parents thought that they were safe enough to place in the front passenger seat, an idea that was quickly dispelled by safety experts.

The Mayo Clinic advises that all child rear seats should be placed in “the back seat, away from active air bags.”

But if only one row of seats is available, then parents should turn off all front air bags to ensure that they do not deploy in the event of an accident.

If parents are only placing one child seat in a vehicle, the safest place is in the middle of the back seat, to reduce the danger of injury from a door that is crushed during a car wreck. That placement is backed up by a government study that found children seated in the middle of a back row are 43 percent safer than children seated to the either side of a back row.

Getting People Back On Their Feet

The sad truth is that no matter how diligent parents are about where they place their child’s rear seats, accidents can still result in serious injury.

That’s the time when the team at Witherite Law Group really earns its reputation.

With nearly 20 years of experience as a leading personal injury law firm serving all the major cities in Texas, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Katy, Austin and El Paso, the lawyers and staff at 1-800-CarWreck have had one goal when helping victims of a car wreck: Keep Your Life Running!

What sets us apart is that from the moment you call us, we know that our number one priority is to restart all the things that come to a screeching halt when you’re hurt in a car wreck.

Simple tasks such as getting to a doctor’s appointment or shopping for groceries can become giant challenges after a car injury, and it’s even worse if you have to miss work for any length of time.

We will be there to provide you with assistance, transportation to medical appointments and patient understanding when you just need to vent.

“We hope you never need us, but when you do, we will go above and beyond to keep your life running and get you back on your feet,” states Amy Witherite.