How Safety Seats Work

Children, especially those under the age of 5, are vulnerable in collisions because of the size and shape of their bodies. Child safety seats are designed to spread the force of a crash over more of the body for forward-facing toddlers and to cradle the fragile neck and back of rear-facing infants.

Child safety seats are the most effective occupant protection devices used in motor vehicles today. They serve three main purposes:

  • Prevent ejection in a crash. Passengers thrown from vehicles are four times more likely to be killed than those who remain inside.
  • Spread forces from a crash over a wide area of the child's body, instead of focusing all of the force on one area.
  • Allows the child and/or his safety seat to "ride down" a crash slowly and resist projectile-like movements (up and down or side-to-side) during a crash.

Return to the Safety Resource Center