Car designs of the recent past have focused greatly on improving the safety of front seat occupants. Such safety improvements have led to better restraint systems, seat-belts, and airbags. Advanced seat belt systems and airbags now make it easier for front seat passengers and drivers to escape serious injuries or death in the event of an accident.
However, rear seat passengers have not been as lucky. Protections for passengers in the back seat have not kept up with the pace of other car safety improvements. For instance, side airbags are present to protect back seat passengers in a side crash, but there are no front airbags for these passengers as there are for front seat riders. Similarly, seat belts in the back seat usually do not have the same tension capacity as front seat belts. The result is that rear-seat passengers continue to be at risk of serious injuries in accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently analyzed more than 100 crashes where rear seat occupants were seriously injured or killed. They found that the most common injuries to back seat passengers were injuries to the chest. This was the most common cause of serious injury or fatality to back seat passengers, regardless of whether they were adults or children.