Sunday was a very tragic day in Sweden. A horrible accident took place in the north of Sweden. It took the life of a mother, father and their 5-year old daughter. A 10-year girl is fighting for her life after being critically injured. The car somehow drove over to the opposite side of the road at 90 km/h (55 mph) and collided with a bus head on. The accident left the car unrecognizable, as seen in the photo above, and a dozen injured people on the bus.
The media attention was enormous all over the country. Television, radio and newspapers all had extensive reports. Crisis center was quickly set up for family, friends, etc. While we do have adults dying in traffic, still at a very low rate, it's extremely rare to have a 5-year old dying in a car accident in Sweden. By using our high weight rear facing car seats to keep our children rear facing mostly past age of 4, and then in a high back booster, our fatality rate in car accidents for age 0-6 years is basically zero.
This accident was very tragic but something amazing happened. One little girl was unharmed. A 1-year old girl survived this horrible crash thanks to her rear facing car seat. She was pulled out of the car unharmed, only with minor scratches. The girl was sitting rear facing in the front seat, airbag deactivated, and survived the crash in her rear facing car seat which according to unconfirmed reports was a Britax Hi-Way. Take a look at the car in the photo above and once again witness the incredible safety of a rear facing car seat.
Many believe the front seat is not a safe place for a young child. It's actually just as safe, or safer, than the rear when looking at all the factors as discussed here. Airbag must of course be deactivated. We have been rear facing children in Sweden since 1965 and during all these years we have learned a lot.
One thing which is rarely surprising to the car seat professionals is the amazing safety of a rear facing car seat. A head on frontal collision at 90 km/h (55 mph) is not really survivable but a Swedish rear facing car seat provide a baby or a toddler with a great chance of surviving even the most horrible accident.