The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge landed in New Zealand Monday morning for their first official trip with Prince George. The highly anticipated arrival of the royals has already stirred up controversy because of the new parents’ decision to put eight-month-old Prince George in a forward-facing car seat.
Minimizing Car Accident Injuries in Young Children
New Zealand safety advocates are concerned that it is too early to put the future king in a front facing car seat. Although the eight-month-old is legally old enough to face forwards in the UK, experts agree that it greatly increases the risk of injury in the event of a car accident.
Most car accidents are frontal. This means that the majority of the force of a crash will come from the front. When a child is placed in a rear-facing car seat, the force would be distributed throughout the child’s back. While a rear facing car seat cannot change the force of impact, the distribution of force minimizes the potential for injury. In a forward facing seat, a car accident can cause a child’s head to fly forward—severely damaging the head and neck.
The royal family proved that they don’t read our personal injury blog when they elected to transport the future king in a forward facing car seat. Though it is heavily discouraged, facing children under age 1 is legal in New Zealand. Critics are targeting both the royal family and the child safety organization responsible for fitting Prince George with a dangerous car seat.
Why Safety Advocates are Upset
Plunket New Zealand, an organization that “supports the health and well-being of children from birth to age five,” was responsible for providing the controversial car seat to the eight-month-old prince. Commenters are voicing their concern on Plunket’s Facebook page—calling the company “irresponsible” and “hypocritical” for fitting a front facing seat for Prince George.
The biggest concern for safety advocates is that the car seat choice made by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will influence crowds to purchase similar car seats for their own children—despite the risks. It comes as no surprise that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are trendsetters. Prince George’s $14.95 kangaroo backpack carried by Prince William has already sold out in many stores and is almost impossible to find online. Safety advocates are concerned that, like the kangaroo backpack, the Prince George’s front facing car seat model will fly off the shelves.
Some are blaming the parents for the controversial decision. Even more, are blaming Plunket New Zealand. A commenter argues that Plunket “should have said no” to the Duke and Duchess—requiring that they face the young prince backward, or find another organization to fit his car seat. After all, how hard can it be to say “no” to Prince William?
As a car accident law firm, we agree that may not have been the best decision to face Prince George forward so young. But, Duke or not, it is ultimately the parents’ decision in New Zealand and the UK. If Prince George visits the United States before age two, rest assured he will be in a rear facing seat.
Child Injuries more Likely in Forward Facing Seats
If your child has been injured in a car accident, our Little Rock car accident attorneys will look into every avenue of getting your child and your family compensated for the sometimes astronomical medical bills. Call Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers anytime for a free, no obligation consultation.