Studies have shown time and time again that children in rear-facing car seats are safer when in car crashes. A new study, though, has shown that some head injuries are possible in these seats, despite the overall higher level of safety provided. The study, published in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention, has shown that crash-test dummies in rear-facing car seats could suffer serious head injuries as the seat moves toward the back of the car in an accident.
The study also found that using the LATCH anchors to tie down the seat led to more severe injuries than using the standard seat belt. What this comes down to is physics. When the impact occurs, the child first is stopped by the rear-facing seat, preventing him or her from being thrown to the front of the vehicle. However, since the base of the car seat is not secured from front to back, the seat thrusts forward toward the back of the vehicle. This creates a situation in which the child's head could impact the back seat, causing injuries.