If you are the parent of a young child, I’m sure you’re like me and you do your very best to protect your children from harm. You child proof your home. You watch out for your kids when they play. But what about in the car? Is having a car seat enough?

Having recently gone shopping for a new car seat myself, I can attest to the dizzying array of car seats which are available. Virtually all proclaim to have been thoroughly tested and certified as meeting or exceeding all crash worthiness tests. So…Is there any difference? And what do those test data really mean?

Transport Canada has conducted research into the safety and efficacy of child car seats and, speaking recently through one of its researchers, Suzanne Tylko, has reached the conclusion that there IS a difference. More specifically, Tylko’s research suggests that rear-facing infant seats do not always provide the head protection which parents may expect and, contrary to what we parents have been told, the rear center position may actually be a more hazardous location for an infant seat. After looking at the manner in which the seats are tested and differences between the test parameters and real-world crashes, Tylko stated that best advice for concerned parents is to use car seats employing the LATCH system (vs. those using the car’s safety belt to secure them), and to position the seat(s) in an outboard seat as opposed to the center position.

For more information on the data underlying Tylko’s comments and conclusions on this and related topics, visit Transport Canada’s website. A summary article may also be viewed at Safety Research & Strategies, Inc.’s website.