“We all want to make sure our children’s car seats are as safe as possible, and today’s proposal will give parents and car-seat makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in announcing the proposed rule changes.
Under the proposed rules, child car seats would be subjected to a sled test that simulates a “T-bone” crash, where the front of a vehicle traveling 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph. The proposed sled test would simulate both the acceleration of the struck vehicle and the vehicle door crushing toward the child car seat. Testing would be performed using a newly developed side-impact dummy representing a 3-year-old child, in addition to using a 12-month-old child dummy already in use in the agency’s testing program.
In order to pass the proposed testing regime, car seats would need to demonstrate that they could restrain a child passenger in a manner that would prevent harmful head contact with an intruding vehicle door. Car seats would also be required to reduce crash forces transmitted to the child’s head and chest.
Car seat manufacturers would have three years to make product modifications to meet the new testing standards. It is estimated that the proposed regulations would save five lives and prevent 64 injuries annually.
“We continue to build on our extensive child seat safety program by adding side-impact crash protection for the first time,” said David Friedman, NHTSA Acting Administrator.
Florida law requires that every operator of a motor vehicle use a crash-tested, federally approved child restraint device when transporting children five years of age or younger.
For children three or younger, the restraint device must be a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child seat.
For children aged four through five years, a separate carrier, an integrated child seat, or a seat belt may be used.
The Florida Highway Patrol recommends that infants ride in a back seat in rear-facing child safety seats for the best possible protection. Rear-facing seats should be used until the child no longer meets the height or weight limit of the particular seat.
When children outgrow their rear-facing seats, they should ride in forward-facing child safety seats installed in the back seat. Older children should continue riding in their forward-facing seat until they reach the upper weight or height limit for the product, which is typically around age 4 and 40 pounds.
If you have been injured, contact The Hollander Law Firm today for a free consultation at (888) 751-7770.