Submitted by garyrudolph on March 16, 2013
I'm debating my kids (5 abd 7) desire to ride in the rear facing seats vs a booster seat in the standard rear seats. I'm looking for peer review on my determination that the rear facing are safer overall. A lot of it is based on these numbers.
Frontal: 38% of accidents, 42% of fatalities
Side: 22% of accidents, 30% of fatalities
Rear: 2% of accidents, 6% of fatalities
Rollover: 39% of accidents, 24% of fatalities
Based on this I think the rear facing seats are the best for frontal as they are rear facing, except for the rebound force with regard to the head being near a rear window. The best for side impact with the 5 point harness and the amount of frame next to them. The best for rollover with the 6 point harness and the amount of frame to the side and over their heads. Not the best with regard to rear impact with their legs near the impact and their heads near the window.
My outcome is that overall the rear facing will be safer for the 98% of accidents and 94% of all fatalities and would be less safer for the others. The only caveat is not knowing how well the seats react in an accidents (i.e. how do the seats deform or move in an accident).