New parents have been told for years to use rear-facing car seats until their babies turn one year old and weigh 20 pounds, after which front-facing child seats are the norm. But data from both Oregon and the federal government are leading medical and safety professionals to reassess this long-held belief, according to state publications and a recent article in the Bend Bulletin.
Expert opinion is coalescing around the idea that children should face backwards until they are at least two years old, the Bulletin reports. Oregon’s Public Health Service adds that “children under the age of two are 75% less likely to be killed or severely injured in a motor vehicle crash is they are riding rear facing rather than forward facing.”
There is an especially great danger of Oregon traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries when young children are not properly restrained in an approved car seat. The Bulletin, citing child emergency physician Dennis Durbin, notes that “young children have weaker neck muscles than older children and adults. Their ligaments are looser. And the bones in the neck aren’t locked together in the same way as an adult’s.” These physiological factors put small children at a significantly higher risk of traumatic brain injuries when they are in a forward-facing car seat. Rear facing seats are safer because in a crash they tend to provide more support for a child’s neck and back.
In the horrifying event that your child suffers an Oregon traumatic brain injury as the result of a Portland, Beaverton or Corvallis auto accident the assistance of a Portland traumatic brain injury lawyer can be essential in helping you sort through the accident’s legal and financial consequences. An Oregon brain injury attorney can help address questions of fault and financial responsibility, and advise on compensation to which you may be entitled.
Bend Bulletin: Rethinking Car Seat Safety
Oregon DHS Public Health Office: Link to August 25, 2009 newsletter on car seats