A rear-facing child restraint system is also safe in the event of a rear impact.
On the one hand, we should take into account that child car seats with the ECE R44/04 or R-129 approval have passed a rear-impact crash test. In the case of R-129 they have also passed a side impact crash test. Both approval standards are currently in force. Therefore, all child car seats that are currently approved have passed this minimum safety requirement.
We know that rear-facing child car seats are very safe in terms of head-on collisions. However, they are also safe for all other impacts. It is important to know the difference between a head-on collision and a rear impact.
In the case of rear impacts, both vehicles are traveling in the same direction, which is not the case in a head-on collision. In this first case, the vehicle that has been crashed into continues to travel forward while simultaneously reducing the impact forces acting on it. These kinds of collisions are not as high impact.
Furthermore, in many instances, the vehicle might be stationary. What counts in this situation is the vehicle's resistence and how much it is damaged. The car would also be shunted forward, meaning that the force will travel in the same direction as the car's acceleration.
In a rear-facing CRS, the head, the most vulnerable part of the body, is positioned in the centre of the vehicle, at a considerable distance from the point of impact. At the time of impact, the head (with its normal weight) tends to move but the forces are offset by the slight forward motion of the car.Thefore, the child's head moves less than in head-on collisions if the child is seated in the direction of travel.
It should not be forgotten that, in many cases a side impact is often accompanied by a subsequent head-on collision with another vehicle, barrier or tree. In both cases, the child would be better protected by a rear-facing CRS.