If you want to provide young children the most protection in a car ride,
you should seat them behind an unoccupied front seat, says the Center
for Auto Safety (CAS). Following its own internal studies and reviews
from other safety organizations, the CAS determined that the prevalent
risk of collapsing seatbacks puts virtually all children in serious danger
in rear-end collisions. By placing them behind unoccupied front seats,
the hazard can be all but completely diverted.
According to its findings, the CAS suggests 900 children have lost their lives in
rear-impact auto collisions since the 1990s. Some of those
car accidents were at speeds as low as 30 miles per hour. When a car with a defective
seatback, which is nearly all makes and models, is struck in a rear-end
collision, the weight of an adult in the seat can cause the seatback to
snap, throwing the passenger and their chair into anyone that is seated
directly behind them. Children sitting there, in a child safety seat or
not, can suffer serious injuries.
NHTSA Says Its Hands are Tied
The Center for Auto Safety has reached out to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration (NHTSA) and asked them to update their safety regulations
to say that behind an unoccupied front seat is the best spot for children.
The NHTSA, however, cannot enforce any new regulations and has difficulty
even changing the language in its guidelines if there isn’t ample
evidence of a problem.
Despite the clear and present danger of collapsing seatbacks, the number
of reported injuries and fatalities directly linked to them is low. The
percentage of rear-end accidents that actually cause a collapsing seatback
is estimated to be in the low, single digits; the number of children killed
in such a crash is even smaller. The NHTSA says it will not get funding
to look into a problem until it affects a greater number of people, or
occurs more frequently.
Until the NHTSA make an official investigation or call-to-action, the CAS
is urging parents to heed their warning and spread the word themselves.
Consumer Affairs has a full article about collapsing seatback dangers
here, for those interested. You can also
contact Hutton & Hutton Law Firm, LLC if you need a Wichita car accident attorney
for your own injury case. We’ve been helping injured clients throughout
Kansas since 1979 and have recovered $400+
verdicts and settlements. Call
316.313.4730 to learn more.