Your children are the most precious cargo you ever carry, so you realize the importance of strapping them into an age-appropriate car seat. For years, safety professionals have told parents the safest place to place their children’s car seats is in the rear of their vehicles.
Sadly, the back seat may pose a grave risk to the young ones in your family. In fact, during a rear-end collision, your car’s front seat may collapse and fall backward. If your children are behind you, the combined weight of your seat and your body may crush them.
An outdated safety standard
According to CBS News, more than 100 children have suffered serious injuries or died due to seatback collapses in the last three decades alone. To protect drivers and passengers, the federal government has a strength standard front seats must meet.
This standard, though, has been the same since the 1960s. Some safety advocates recommend updating the standard to force automakers to strengthen the seats in the cars, trucks and SUVs they sell.
Your safety strategy
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to say the rear seat is the safest place for your kids. If you are traveling with no adult passengers, however, you may want to put your child’s car seat behind the front passenger seat. This decreases the threat to your son or daughter, as it limits the potential crush weight.
While it may seem awkward, leaving the passenger seat empty and asking your adult passenger to ride in the back may also be wise. Ultimately, though, if your child suffers a serious injury because of a seatback collapse in a rear-end collision, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation.