Don't make the flip: Local doctors, firefighters say wait to turn your child's car seat

Posted at 10:14 PM, Apr 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-12 23:14:35-04

The drive to keep infants and toddlers facing backward just got a boost. New research proves it's safer to keep your child rear-facing even in rear-end crashes.

"She's so tiny. So I figured the bigger she is the better. The longer she can stay backwards, rear-facing is better," said Brooke Benish.

The Cudahy mom said despite her daughter getting close to a year-old, she has no plans to turn her car seat. Doctors and EMTs agree.

A new study done by Injury Biomechanics Research Center affiliated with Ohio State University says even in rear-end crashes, your child is still safest facing backward. It says kids are more likely to be injured if they're facing the front.

"It's a push forward and their head and neck, which is the majority of their body weight is absorbing that full impact," said Deena Liska, a community health worker at Children's Hospital as she described what a front-end crash looks like.

If your child is backward facing, the car seat takes the impact.  

"The car seat moves down and it moves up a little bit," said Liska. "So all of those forces then are absorbed by the car seat."

The movement helps a child survive. Researchers say even if your children's legs start to get a little too long for their seat, they should be O.K. as long as the seat can hold their weight.  It's something the North Shore Fire Department Lt. Dan Tyk said they've seen first hand,

"Crash after crash that we have been on with a child whose knees are up and they have suffered no injury," said Tyk. "This new research really backs that up and what we as technicians have been telling parents and the community at large for years, there is now science that supports keeping your child rear facing as long as possible."