- Mar 3, 2009
NHTSA in hot seat after troubling baby car seat tests found
In the United States today, infant seats are only tested on a sled. Before being sold, the seats must demonstrate the ability to survive a "simulated" head-on crash at 30 mph. On the other hand, the NHTSA crashes actual vehicles into a barrier at 35 mph (although it is only 5 mph faster, the impact is significantly greater). Sled tests are effective in some studies, but they fail to test the variables found among different vehicle interiors and the unique seat designs that change from manufacturer to manufacturer.
Responding to the Tribune report, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a written statement Friday that he ordered a "complete top to bottom review of child safety seat regulations." He will also make changes to make the crash-test results "more available" to consumers. Government crash test regulations have held automakers to the fire, and the result has been much safer vehicles for adults. Now it's time to bring infant/child seat manufacturers to the same flame and improve small occupant safety, as well.
[Source: Freep, image by NHTSA]