Rear Facing – What About Leg Space?
A very common question from parents just learning of rear facing is about leg space. Where do the legs go? My 6-month old is getting cramped with leg space, how can my toddler sit rear facing? Is it dangerous to sit rear facing in a crash from the rear?
Lets start with safety, are rear facing children at risk in collisions from the rear? Research and real life experiences show rear facing children are also extremely safe in collisions from the rear. The usual statement is “rear facing children are as safe or safer than forward facing children in collisions from the rear“. These collisions are usually far less severe than frontal collisions due to crash dynamics. Collisions from the rear also account for only about 5% of total collisions.
Rear facing children can get injured in these collisions but it’s rare. We also know from experience that we can repair injuries to legs which we most often can’t do with injuries to head and neck. Children who sit forward facing are not exempt from injuries as well. Research show that injuries to lower extremities in forward facing children are quite common.
What about leg space? Rear facing children sit with legs bent which is both safe and comfortable. Look at your toddler during those play sessions. Legs are always bent, children are far more flexible than us adults and enjoy sitting with legs bent or crossed.
Here in rear facing heaven Sweden most parents keep children rear facing until age 4 or longer. So far I have never heard a child complain about feeling cramped in the car or being uncomfortable. Kids are perfectly happy rear facing at age 4-5 and it’s also common in Sweden who has led the world in car seat safety since 1960. If you want to see older kids rear facing, please take a look at the gallery.