Infant Seats - What is an Anti-Rebound Bar?
By Adam J. Langino, Esq.
Selecting the best seat for your newborn is not an easy task. Believe me. I went through this three times. Parents are often overwhelmed with information, particularly for their first child. As a trial lawyer, I have seen firsthand how some U.S. corporations cut corners with their U.S. infant seats while selling safer versions abroad. This article provides helpful information about infant seat anti-rebound bars, which are typically found overseas due to more stringent safety testing requirements.
What is an Anti-Rebound Bar?
Very simply, an anti-rebound device is either attached as an extra part to the front of a child safety seat's base or incorporated into the seat itself. In many cases, it takes the form of a raised U-shaped bar resting at the outer edge of your infant's feet and next to the seat directly in front of them.
What Does it Do?
Car crashes involve a great deal of energy. A purpose of an infant child restraint is to reduce the amount of energy transferred to the infant in a collision. Many infant seats are latched to the seatback to keep it in place while in use. In a frontal collision, an infant seat continues moving forward even after the vehicle has stopped moving. The infant seat’s energy pushes the vehicle’s seat cushion downward. The energy next springs (or rebounds) the infant back towards the seatback in front of them. The purpose of the anti-rebound bar is to reduce this energy, thereby reducing the risk that an infant will rebound into a seatback and be harmed. Ultimately, its purpose is to prevent your infant from contacting their seat back in a significant collision.
Why isn't Anti-Rebound Protection Standard?
In the U.S., anti-rebound protection is not required like in other countries. For instance, in 2012, Canada updated its infant seat safety testing standards to include anti-rebound protection. In Europe, similar testing requires anti-rebound protection, different than what is necessary for the U.S. This puts corporations that profit by selling infant seats in the U.S. in an awkward position.
Some corporations now incorporate anti-rebound protection as a standard in their infant seats. Why should infants in other countries have better protection than U.S. infants? Especially when the U.S. corporations profit significantly from selling their products in the U.S. Ultimately, to sell an infant seat in the U.S., a corporation only needs to meet our government's minimum safety requirements. Some corporations appear to be fine turning a blind eye that while their seats are legal in the U.S., they may not be in other countries due to safety issues.
Why do corporations do this? In my opinion, it comes down to money. Some U.S. corporations would rather not spend the time incorporating anti-rebound protection into their seats because it would slightly increase their manufacturing cost. Further, many parents are unaware of the protections of an anti-rebound bar. Therefore, it may not be factoring into their purchase decision. Corporations are legal entities created to make money - that's it. Some corporations are OK putting their profits ahead of your infant's safety. Part of my work as a trial lawyer is to correct that profit-driven thinking.
When selecting an infant seat, look for anti-rebound protection. If the unthinkable happens and you are involved in a collision, the added protection may make a significant difference to your child. Over my career, I have gained valuable experience handling child seat defect claims. I am licensed to practice law in Florida and North Carolina and co-counsel claims in other states. If you would like to learn more about me or my practice, click here. If you want to request a free consultation, click here. As always, stay safe and stay well.