NHTSA Issues Proposed New Safety Rating Program for Child Restraint Systems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed new requirements for child safety seat manufacturers that choose to make booster seats for older and heavier children.

The new proposal requires these particular manufacturers to build seats capable of protecting children up to 10 years old and weighing up to 80 pounds from death or serious injury in 30 mile-per-hour crashes.

Under the proposal, NHTSA would also use a new, fully instrumented dummy simulating an 80-pound, 10 year-old child to make sure seats meet the proposed new requirements. Currently, NHTSA tests booster seats rated to accommodate children weighing a maximum of 65 pounds.

"America’s kids come in all shapes and sizes, and car crashes are the leading killers of children in this country," said Jeffrey W. Runge, MD, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "We need to make sure that child safety seats and booster seats protect our kids no matter how large or how small they are."

The new proposal is part of the agency’s continuing efforts to improve child occupant safety. It also responds to Anton’s law, which required NHTSA to expand the scope of federal standards governing child safety seats, including booster seats.

The law was named after Anton Skeen, a four-year boy who was ejected and killed in a car crash in Washington State in 1996.

The full notice can be seen at: http://nhtsa.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.258ac646ab16428891e67a1090008a0c/

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