Why is it safer to travelling with your back to the road ? Why travelling with your back to the road is safer for children is very simple. In a car seat with its back to the road, the baby's whole body is protected by the seat shell. In the event of an accident, the rear-facing seat makes it possible to reduce serious or fatal injuries by protecting the most sensitive areas of a child's body, namely head, neck and spine. In a forward-facing car seat, children are restrained by the harness but their heads are proportionately heavier, is thrown violently forward which can cause serious injuries in the event of an impact. Experts agree that travelling with your back to the road is 5 times safer for children.
Common misconceptions about back-to-the-road travel
Despite the enormous advantage of back to the road from a safety point of viewHowever, many parents still have many preconceptions about this position. To encourage you to travel with their back to the road, over and above the legal obligationLet's take a look at some of the most persistent beliefs.
Myth No. 1: The position is uncomfortable for children
The rear-facing position is often described as uncomfortable by many parents who wrongly think that their child is uncomfortable. In reality, the perception of comfort is very different between an adult and a child. Children are often more flexible than adults. They play, sleep, read, eat and sometimes sit in awkward positions. Although it may seem uncomfortable to us, children will always find a way of putting yourself at ease by stretching, resting, crossing or swinging their legs. If your child complains, simply take breaks throughout the journey, as you would for an adult.
Myth No. 2: My child is old enough to face the road
Whatever your child's height or weight, developing the muscles of the neck and spine will be the same as for a smaller child. In the event of an impact, the risk of serious injury will be just as great in either case. This is why, before the age of 4, it is advisable to keep your children facing away from the road for as long as possible.
Myth No. 3: Sitting with your back to the road means your child is ill
Motion sickness generally appears from the age of 2 onwards. Before the age of 2, children are rarely affected due to cerebral immaturity. Contrary to what you might think, neither the stomach nor the back-to-the-road position are responsible for motion sickness. It's the troubles between visual perception and the functioning of the inner ear which are the source of the contradictory information sent to the brain that leads to the nausea or vomiting symptomatic of motion sickness. This is what can happen, for example, when your child is more stimulated by the external environment and the number of things they can see through the windows once they've moved from the cosy to the infant car seat. As a result, when your child is sick in the car, it's a safe bet that he or she will be as sick facing the road as facing away from it.
Myth No. 4: My child can't see anything
Contrary to what we think, children with their backs to the road generally see more thanks to a wider field of vision and an elevated position. They can look out of the rear window, one of the two side windows or even the mirror. Unlike the forward-facing position, their vision is not impeded by the proximity of the front seat and headrest.
Myth No. 5: He doesn't like his back to the road and throws tantrums
When your child has only known the rear-facing position until the age of 15 monthsThere's no reason why he should suddenly want to change. The list of things the little ones get angry, shout or cry is often very long. As parents, we always want the best for our children. Every day, it's one of our priorities even if this is sometimes impossible (brushing teeth, tidying the room, going to bed...). Protect your child travelling with your back to the roadYou have every right to make this a priority.
Myth No. 6: In the event of an accident, his legs will be seriously injured
While this may be a legitimate concern, there are currently no no evidence of children with serious leg injuries in a rear-facing car seat. In reality, studies (notably by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) have shown that leg injuries are more frequent in children aged 1 to 4 travelling facing the road. In a head-on collision (the most common type of collision), the child's legs are thrown forward, often hitting the back of the front passenger seat or the rear centre console.
Myth No. 7: It's impossible to see your child
To help you see, but also to be seen by your children when they are sitting with their backs to the road, there are a number of products on the market mirrors positioned on the rear seat headrest. They cost around ten euros and allow you to keep a safe eye on baby.
Myth 8: What happens in a rear-end collision?
From a statistical point of view*, rear impacts are much less frequent. They also generate far fewer serious injuries than frontal impacts. The reason for this is simple, the forces exerted at the moment of impact of a rear-end collision are much lower the fact that the two vehicles are moving in the same direction. The child's body is not thrown forward as violently as in a head-on collision, where the speed of both vehicles is reduced to zero in a fraction of a second.
*All data can be consulted on the website of the National Interministerial Road Safety Observatory (OSNIR) and on the French government's public data dissemination platform.
Myth No. 9: Rear-facing car seats are expensive
This is yet another false belief. All year round, it is possible to find rear-facing car seats for a very affordable price. Entry-level prices generally start at around €200 for models that can be used for up to the age of 4 or 5 (Britax Max-Way or the Joie Spin 360 swivel car seat). However, it is possible to find even cheaper models during sales or promotional periods (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, private sales, etc.). You can also turn to older models or to collections from previous years which are often sold off by manufacturers to clear their stocks (Bébé Confort 2wayPearl, Britax Dualfix).
Myth No. 10: My car is too small
There are many models of rear-facing car seats available for sale. Some models may be more compact than others (Axkid Minikid 2.0), recline to a greater or lesser extent (Klippan Triofix Recline), while others have an adjustment feature to reduce or increase the space available for the child's legs. This is particularly the case with the Britax Dualfix i-Size or on the BeSafe iZi . It's also possible to travel with your child in the front seat, as long as the airbag is deactivated. Whatever happens, unless you're travelling with a very tall passenger, you're bound to find a rear-facing seat that will fit in your (small) car.
When can my child sit facing the road?
Although it is legally possible to seat your child facing the road from the age of 9 kg or 15 months depending on the regulations (R44/04 or i-Size) for your car seatWe recommend that you keep your child facing away from the road for at least as long as possible, up to the age of 4. It is from the age of 4 that the muscles of the head and neck are fairly well developed to withstand the violence of a shock without too much trauma.