Earlier this week, we reported that the NHTSA was in the hot seat when it failed to report infant seat failures. Our post stemmed from a report in the Chicago Tribune following its investigation through thousands of buried National Highway Traffic Safety Administration test reports. The Tribune report raised more than a few eyebrows as it called into question current child seat safety standards, and accused the NHTSA of negligence in not reporting the poor results to the public.
SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A., a national non-profit organization dedicated to child passenger safety, was quick to issue a response in a effort to clear up the Tribune's alarming and sensational report. According to SBS, the infant/child seat manufacturers do exhaustive testing of new designs on computers before they ever get bolted to a test sled. Those tests, run at 30 mph into a rigid barrier (as required by FMVSS 213), "...are the equivalent of hitting another car at 60 mph and more severe than more than 95% of real-world crashes." As of today, the largest collection of consistently analyzed cases of children in crashes over a ten-year period was done by Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The findings indicated that "...the chance of injury of an infant properly restrained in a correctly secured rear-facing seat is less than 1%." While no restraint system (adult, child, or infant) is optimal for every crash scenario, all studies still indicate that a properly restrained infant is going to fend very well in a real-world crash. Keep 'em buckled up!