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Why is rear facing so safe?

I'm not trying to bash, I'm just honestly wondering what makes rear facing so safe? It makes sense when their way little and can't hold up their own head or anything, but why is it safer for a 1-2 year old to be rear facing?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:51 AM on Apr. 21, 2009 in Babies (0-12 months)

Answers (12)
  • Their neck isn't strong. Sitting rear supports the neck in case of a wreck. If there was a strong jerk in a forward motion it could break their neck or snap their head off. It has happened.

    Dont know about a 2 year old-thought it was 12months 20 lbs??

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:53 AM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • go to and type in rear vs forward facing and watch the crash tests. When my son turned 1 i felt safe with it.

    Answer by amy31308 at 11:54 AM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • But what if there is a strong jerk in backward motion?

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:56 AM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • the reason some 1 year olds can face forward yet is because they are not 20 lbs so most laws state that they have to be 1 year and 20lbs or until they no longer fit facing to the rear.

    Answer by nkezele86 at 11:58 AM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • When you are in an accident, your body is thrown forward, against your seat belt. Your body is large and strong, your bones are solid and well formed. Your body can handle the impact of hitting those seat belt straps at 40 mph (or more).
    For a rear facing chile, their body is also thrown towards the front of the car - into the padding of the seat. Their bones are still forming, their bodies don't have the strength to absorb the impact in the small areas covered by the seat belts - so the impact is spread over the entire body by pressing the body into the seat. It actually has nothing to do with neck strength and head control.

    Did you know that the passenger seats on Air Force transports face backwards too? Same reason. The stress and injury to the passengers is much less when rear facing in a crash.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 11:59 AM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • And yes, there can be accidents that push the adults back into their seats and thus - throw a rear facing child into his seat belts - but those are VERY rare. This would be like getting rear ended by a runaway semi-truck while sitting at a stop light. It can happen but you are MUCH more likely to hit someone head on or from the side.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:01 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • What if it is a fender bender when they hit into you? Those are much more common than other accidents. It has happened to me at least 5 times (I wasn't always the driver).

    Sorry, still not bashing- just trying to wrap my head around this.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:04 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • Because of spinal maturity. The spine isn't strong enough until they are over 2 years old.. in addition they have those great big heads!
    And because of the force of the accident the child is pushed and supported by the rear facing seat rather than being thrown forward and possibly breaking the childs neck. No matter if the car is hit from the front or from the back the movement in the crash is the same (you would think it wouldn't work that way, but it does)

    Answer by AmiJanell at 12:27 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • In the vast majority of accidents, you are thrown towards the front of the car and into your seat belt. This is true for little fender benders, head on collisions, even t-bone accidents. It's only when the car suddenly accelerates forward that you are pushed into your seat - or an infant is thrown against the straps of her rear facing car seat.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:28 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

  • I have to make lunch. But here are some helpful links.

    Answer by jus1jess at 1:01 PM on Apr. 21, 2009

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