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Proposed Car Seat Rules Will Help Protect Children in Accidents

Car seats are the most effective way to protect your child from injury in a serious car accident. Yet current safety standards fail to test how well they fare in one of the most common types of crashes.

Thankfully, that may soon change. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently proposed upgrades to the federal motor vehicle safety standard that will include a first-ever side impact test for car seats sold in the U.S. that are designed for children weighing up to 40 pounds.

“As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”

According to the NHTSA, car seats would be tested in a specially designed 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. NHTSA’s data shows that “these speeds will cover over 90% of the side-impact crashes seen in the real world.”

The NHTSA’s rule proposal will now be subject to a 90-day public comment period. After the rule becomes final, car-seat manufacturers will have a three-year timeframe to make any necessary changes.