Child car seats would for the first time have to protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes under regulations the government proposed Wednesday.
The proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would upgrade standards for child seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds to include a new test that simulates a side crash. The agency estimates the standards will prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to 64 others each year.
The new tests would simulate 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 research has shown "these speeds will cover over 90 percent of the side-impact crashes seen in the real world," NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman said.
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. The test, which simulates both the acceleration of the struck vehicle and the vehicle's door crushing inward toward the car seat, will use dummies representing a 12-month-old and a 3-year-old.