Federal regulators initiated new crash test standards for car seats in 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) proposed rules requiring all car seats to be able to withstand a side-impact collision at 30 miles per hour.
Laws governing the construction of car seats only tested the devices for frontal impacts. This will mark the first-ever American standard for car seats experiencing side impacts.
Crash tests will involve placing the car seat on a cart traveling 15 miles per hour. That test bed will then be impacted from the side by another cart, traveling 30 miles per hour. Two crash dummies will be used in the new test. One will simulate a toddler of three years old, while the other will measure the effect of a crash on a one-year old infant.
“Car seats are one of the most essential tools we have for keeping young people safe in vehicles,” David Friedman, NHSTA administrator, said. The agency predicts the 2014 standard could prevent 60 injuries and five deaths each year.
Accidental deaths are the leading cause of death among American children, and auto accidents account for many of those incidents. Safety officials hope the new regulations will reduce those numbers.
Car seat manufacturers will have three years to adhere to the new regulations.