Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bent or crossed legs are not dangerous




Bent legs - no reason to
turn kids forward-
facing


The picture to the right shows a six year old, 120 cm long boy rear-facing in a Britax Two Way Elite car safety seat. He likes sitting RF, he thinks it is nice to sit with support for the legs, instead of having them hanging in the loose air FF. He wants to sit that way because he knows thats the safest way for him to sit and besides he has a better view outside.

Many parents have the misconception that it is uncomfortable or dangerous to sit with the legs crossed or touching the back of the seat. It might be uncomfortable for an adult but not for a child, it is important to remember that a child is not a little adult.

Here is what the experts are saying about bent or crossed legs when rear-facing:

Medical Director at the Pediatric ICU in Ullevaal hospital, Tor Einar Calisch says in an interview with the newspaper Faedrelandsvennen:

For those of you who believe that the children are sitting uncomfortably in a rear-facing carseat, the medical director has this to say:

- In that age the children can sit crouching down over a longer period of time without problems. Children are also used to bent legs from the time they still were in they're mothers womb. That is not a problem. I addition parents can monitor there kids in the back by using a special mirror for rear-facing attatched to the headrest, says Calisch.
The picture to the left shows the same six year old, only in another seat. This seat is a Brio Zento, rear-facin up till 25 kg.


Trygg Trafikk has this to say about bent legs:

Bent legs are not dangerous!
Many parents are turning their child around to soon because they feel that the child is uncomfortable sitting with their legs bent in a rear-facing car safety seat. The child doesn't get hurt by setting with bent legs, and they usually they don't think it is uncomfortable either. In this situation as well as in all road trips, take regular breaks to stretch the legs and get some fresh air, that goes for every one in the car.

The Swedish research and insurance company Fölksam says:
What do you do when there is little room for the kids legs?
Safetywise there is no danger for the kid to sit with bent legs. it is very seldom that kids complain, but it is often we adults who thinks it looks uncomfortable. For example a child can sit crouching down over a longer period without any problems.

Volvo says:
That the kids might not be able to stretch their legs ha nothing to say for the security.

American Car Safety 4 Kids says:

Is it dangerous to have my child's legs bent and/or his feet touching the seat?

No, this is not a safety hazard. There are no documented reports of children breaking their legs or hips in a crash. However, there are countless cases of forward-facing children with spine or neck injuries. In a crash, a rear-facing child's legs will be thrown up and back away from the vehicle seat. It's important to note that children are very flexible and do not find riding this way uncomfortable. What looks cramped to an adult is fine for a child.

Amerikanske Car-Seat.org sier:
It is NOT considered a safety issue if a child's legs are bent at the knees in a rear-facing carseat, or if their feet can touch the vehicle's seat back.



Conclusion: Do not turn the child forward because of little legroom.

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