The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed upgrading safety standards for child car seats. For the first time, child car seats must protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes.
The newly proposed standards dictate that car seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds will undergo a test that simulates what happens during a "T-bone" crash. This side-impact test is the first of its kind. It monitors how well a car seat protects a child test dummy in a vehicle traveling 30 mph that strikes the side of a vehicle traveling at 15 mph. Research indicates that this simulation represents a commonly occurring type of auto accident in the "real world."
Safety advocates in strong support of the heightened car seat regulations maintain that modern passenger vehicles have many air bags to protect adults from side-impact crashes, and children must be protected as well. The NHTSA estimates the new safety measures will prevent the deaths of about five children and 64 injuries each year.