Skip to Content

DGT: backward facing child seats

DGT: backward facing child seats

16/02/2014

The DGT, a few months ago proposed (although at the moment the law isn’t yet enacted) a new regulation on how child car seats should be installed in cars before the child reaches 12 years of age or 135cms in height.
According to data supplied by the DGT, road accidents are the principal cause of external death (excluding illness) in children under 14 years of age.
If we analyze closely this subject, 40% of these fatalities were as a result of the child not using a child restraining system at the time of the accident.
For this reason the DGT would like children travelling in seats from group 0 (up to 10 kilos) and group 0+ (up to 18 kilos) to always travel facing backwards.
This is to say that up to approximately 4 years of age children should always travel facing backwards so long as their seat allows (all seats are not designed to face backwards in which case it is not obligatory).
In conclusion we can see that this change directly affects seats in group I, which up until now were allowed to be installed forward facing and must now be the other way round.

DGT – Child seats and the rules
Why does the DGT want to bring in this regulation for child seats?
Because to travel backward facing is much safer, affording much better protection for the head, neck and spine in a collision.
This conclusion was reached last year after a study be the FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE, which we will now expand with this proposal by the DGT.
We must take into account that a baby’s head at birth is much bigger with respect to the body; also the muscle tissue and the ligaments are not fully formed at this stage.
This makes the baby extremely sensitive and easily damaged.

When installing the seat the following question comes to mind, where is the safest place to put it? The answer, though not an obligation, is on the back seats, and the middle is the best position. This is the safest place in case of a head-on or lateral accident.
If we wish to install the child seat on the front seat, as well as remembering that the seat should be backward facing, we must ensure that the airbag is deactivated.
If by mistake the seat should become displaced, the child will probably suffer serious injury. If unsure of how to install it safely consult the vehicle owners manual or take it to a dealership.
Should the child require constant supervision by the driver, the front passenger seat is a safe option for the child but the seat must be backward facing and the front passenger airbag must be deactivated.

In a study by the FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE a year ago has already recommended that children travel backward facing, the study head highlighted two basic reasons for this being the safest way to travel.
First the neck of a 2-3 year old is very small in comparison to the head and is also quite weak. In a head-on collision, where the seat is backward facing the back of the child will take the force of the collision and not the neck which is much weaker.
The second reason is that the seat is much more effective. According to the Swiss National Road Administration, children in a car seat travelling forward facing, have 5 times the risk of suffering injury than those travelling in a backward facing direction.
Prevention with child seats
We can conclude from this article that, according to the DGT and backed up by the FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE, that the positioning of a child seat on every trip we make, should be in a backward facing direction and in a seat suitable to the needs of the child, taking into account their weight and height, up to 4 years of age (18 kilos) and whenever possible it should be across the back seats.
Because prevention when travelling with a child in the car is not difficult, we can ensure that every child travelling by car complies with the current law.
For more information go to: www.seguridadvialinfantil.org

Back to top