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Tougher child-seat laws on way

2014-01-22 13:28

PROTECTING YOUR CHILD: The NHTSA is calling for child car-seats to protect occupants from side crashes. Image: SHUTTERSTOCK

Joan Lowy

WASHINGTON, USA – Wheels24 reported in January 2014 that a three-year-old girl was killed after she was flung from the car in which she was travelling.

That was on January 20 2014 when the car rolled on the R53 near Potchefstroom in  North West, paramedics said. It seems unlikely that she was strapped into a child's car seat.

Now in the US a child car-seat, if pending laws are implemented, will have to protect their occupant from death and injury in side-impact crashes reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


The NHTSA wants to upgrade standards for child seats for children weighing up to 18kg, to include a new test that simulates a side impact. The agency estimates the standards will prevent the death of about five children and injuries to 64 each year.

NHTSA acting administrator David Friedman is scheduled to announce the proposal on January 22 2014.

The test will simulate a "T-bone" crash in which the front of a vehicle traveling 50km/h strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 24km/h.

The tests will position the car seat on a sled, with another sled ramming the side of the sled with the seat, rather than using actual vehicles since the aim isn't to test the crash worthiness of specific vehicles, NHTSA officials said.

Research shows that many child deaths and injuries in side-impact crashes involve vehicles being stuck at intersections. When the vehicles attempts to accelerate through an intersection, it is struck in the side by a vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.

The side-impact test, the first of its kind, simulates both the acceleration of the struck vehicle and the vehicle's door crushing inward toward the car seat.


Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said: "As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents.  It will give parents and car seat makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes."

Friedman called car seats "an essential tool for keeping young children safe in vehicles and have a proven track record of saving lives."

The US public will have 90 days to comment on the proposed regulations after they are published this week.
The proposal includes giving car seat manufacturers three years to make any adjustments to meet the new requirements. That window doesn't begin until the regulations are made final.


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