Side Impact Protection Revealed
Facts about Side Impact Crashes
Side impact crashes pose a serious threat to child safety and therefore make side impact protection a necessity for child seats. In fact:
- 1 in 4 crashes occur from the side
- Injuries are more severe in side impact crashes
- 30% of fatalities are a result of side impact crashes
- Vehicle side air curtains are designed to protect adults, not children
Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
How Injuries Occur in a Side Impact Crash
When a car is hit from the side, a child could possibly be injured by:
- The lack of a “crumple zone” between the child and the vehicle door resulting in direct impact of the oncoming vehicle.
- Contact with any intruding objects such as the car door, glass, metal shards, etc.
- Acceleration of the body as the car comes to a sudden halt; a quick change in speed is what causes injury to the body.
During a side impact crash both the child’s head and chest are extremely vulnerable to injury. The chest is more exposed because the child’s shoulders are wider than the head, and therefore likely to be the first point of contact with intruding objects coming from the side and jolting the chest. The child’s head should always be protected to avoid serious and permanent injury.
Minimizing Injuries in a Side Impact Crash
Energy cannot be destroyed but can be transferred from one object or one form to another. The key to minimizing risk of serious injury during a side impact crash is to make sure energy from a crash is transferred to something other than the child.
BRITAX True Side Impact Protection
BRITAX developed side impact protection for its full line of car seats with several of its seats featuring True Side Impact Protection™. True Side Impact Protection utilizes the rigid seat shell, lined with energy-absorbing foam, along with the head restraint to keep the child’s head and chest protected from the side impact crash forces. More specifically, True Side Impact Protection does four things:
- Distributes crash forces.
- Shields the child from vehicle intrusion.
- Contains the head and body.
- Minimize side to side head movement and literally “trues” the head keeping the neck and spine aligned to limit potential injury.