Parents and caregivers will have more help when deciding which child safety seat to purchase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced improvements to a car seat consumer ratings system aimed at providing more guidance to shoppers.
The NHTSA found that seven in 10 safety seats are either the wrong size or are misused, hindering their ability to perform in a car crash. The new ratings system will work to eliminate the confusion in selecting, installing, and using safety seats. The five-star system will grade car seats on the following criteria: ability to secure a child, ease of installation, and labeling and instruction manuals.
NHTSA estimates that child restraint systems reduce fatalities by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers in passenger cars, and by 60 percent for infants and toddlers in sport utility vehicles, pickup trucks, and vans. The government advises the use of car seats for children up to 40 pounds and booster seats for children over 40 pounds until they are 8 years old or are 4 feet 9 inches tall.