Recently, CBS News ran a story that should alarm parents everywhere. The story focuses on front-seatback failures during automobile accidents, as these failures can be catastrophic for children who are sitting in the back of a vehicle.
According to the CBS News report, front-seatback failures are to blame for at least 100 deaths. There could be many more, though. Consequently, as a responsible parent, you must understand the risk and try to minimize it.
The front seatbacks on your car, truck or SUV probably weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. By itself, this weight is not dangerous to your kids. This is because internal mechanisms inside your front seats hold the seatbacks upright. In a collision, though, these mechanisms can break or otherwise fail.
During a front-seatback failure, seatbacks tend to fall backward. Sadly, the combined weight of the seatback and you or your passenger are likely to be enough to crush any passenger who is sitting in the back seat. The risk is particularly real for infants, toddlers and young children.
Your minimization efforts
The most effective way to protect your children is to sit them behind an empty passenger seat. If your vehicle has a third row of seats, that area also may be safer. Nevertheless, it is usually not safe for young children to ride in the front passenger seat, especially if they are in a car seat.
While putting your kids in a safer area is advisable, you may never be able to completely eliminate their odds of suffering a serious injury in a front-seatback collapse. Ultimately, though, injured children are often eligible for substantial financial compensation.