Risk of head injury for infants in rear-end collisions

Car crashes have the potential to cause serious injuries for everyone involved. Even when the collision itself seems minor, drivers and their passengers can get hurt and be left with pain that never completely goes away.

There are many advanced safety features in our vehicles that can protect us in an accident, from head supports and airbags to seat belts and crumple zones. Unfortunately, despite all the available crash-protection equipment, people can still get hurt. This is one concern facing researchers who have found that there may be ways to improve on the safety of rear-facing child car seats.

A recent study showed that infants in rear-facing car seats, which has been determined to be the safest position for kids under 2, are at risk of suffering a head injury if the car is rear-ended. Researchers say that while the motion of a child being pitched toward the back of the car in this type of accident is to be expected, they found that the potential for damage to a child’s head is more severe than they anticipated.

They are careful to note, however, that this information does not mean parents should stop putting infants in rear-facing car seats. The position is still safer than the alternatives. However, researchers believe that there are ways to improve car seats to minimize the movements that lead to injuries.

Some suggestions include new regulations for measuring crashworthiness in car seats, use of anti-rebound bars or straps as well as stricter limits on the “rebounding” effect of these seats in a crash.

While we may start seeing some of these developments and improvements in the future, every parent should be aware of the fact that infants and young children can still suffer serious injuries in a crash even when they are properly restrained. In the event of a collision, whether it is minor or severe, it can be crucial for parents to make sure they and their children in the car receive appropriate and immediate medical treatment.

Should it be determined that the crash was caused by a negligent party, it may be wise to explore the options for filing a civil suit to recover compensation for damages.

Source: The Washington Post, “Study of rear-end crashes finds head injuries from rear-facing child seats,” Katherine Shaver, Nov. 1, 2015