A Swedish rear facing car seat saves another life


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.

9 thoughts on “A Swedish rear facing car seat saves another life

  1. Stephanie Tombrello says:

    Despite the terrible news overall, this is yet another example of how Sweden has been willing to be science-driven in making recommendations, standards, and laws. Although I have been active in this field since 1970, and many have encouraged the U.S. to emulate Sweden, learning from the real-life experiment with doing this, it is only recently that U.S. families can obtain safety seats that are certified to 30-45 lbs. This is a big step forward; however, the public has to be dragged along to understand it because of years of NOT having the message being beamed out broadly.

    With condolences to the child’s extended family and friends who must be mourning their losses but oh, so joyous that one was saved, basically unhurt. We are thinking of the child who is struggling to survive.

  2. admin says:

    Stephanie: Tragic accident, tough to feel much joy but at least the little girl survived and hopeful also the 10-year old.

    The Swedish approach to car seat safety is very simple and I think it’s one important reason why it’s so effective. Researchers, politicians, insurance companies, etc also work closely together to make sure parents are informed and are doing what’s safest for their children. This close cooperation is uncommon in other countries.

    Not sure if it’s great idea to copy exactly what Sweden does but at least many things can be learned and some things implemented.

    We have been fortunate to have a small number of individuals over here who have worked tirelessly during many years to promote and talk about rear facing. Without them I think things would look different.

    Talking about working tirelessly, you have just like these individuals worked very hard to promote car seat safety. You started long before it was much focus on it with SafetybeltSafe. Thanks for your hard work and dedication!


  3. Ulrike says:

    This is truely a horror news that hurts every mother’s heart. I sincerely pray that the 10 year old girl will survive. My condolences to the families.

    I agree that talking about the safety of our children in rear-facing car seats is extremely important, also here in Germany. Since my son was born in 2009, I have been searching for the right child seat. And as we have few children doctors amongst our family and friends, we were only recommended to use rear facing. So it has, indeed, arrived at the doctors conviction that it is best.

    However, I feel that ADAC is compromising too much on this matter as they find the installation to complicated. But what is the life of our children worth if we do not take this little more effort to install these child car seats correctly to protect our loved ones? So I keep telling all new parents in my surroundings about reboarding after the babyseat. Many still think that the forward facing seats are sufficient as they have been without seat in their own childhood. But traffic has changed so drastically since then and it is very difficult to have them set priorities.

    I have forwarded the article to those I try to convince protecting their children the best possible way, and surely, I will continue, giving parents the chance to see how much space the children have – and how much safer it is to have the little ones travel rear facing as long as possible.

  4. Emil Burns says:

    As a former child passenger safety technician I wish my country (USA) had the safety standards of your country and some others. Our car seats are not approved for the front seat.

  5. Lena says:

    Hi, my family and I were in Sweden from Sunday to Tuesday this week. It´s funny because we did watch the news Sunday night and Monday night, but didn´t hear about this accident until yesterday. I have put it up on my website too.


  6. saydee says:

    My family is from US (WA) and i am just amazed at how many people are telling me to keep my daughter reafacing until she is 35 pounds. Her in the US you can switch them to frontfacinga at 20 pounds and 1 yr. This just proves to me to keep her refacing as long as i can! This is a horrible story but your guys rule saved a little girls life.
    Our carseats here are not approved for front seats but i am just amazed at this story…thankyou and condolences.

  7. Pingback: Tragic accident kills parent – Rear facing child saved | CarSeat.se

  8. Alicia Hair says:

    I cannot imagine the pain this family is going through, I send them all my sympathies. What are the actual numbers of fatalities in Sweden per capita of children rear facing?  Is there any study that show the numbers of  survivors in rear facing seats with the speed of the crash, if it was a head on, or a side impact?
    Thank you
    Safe journeys

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