Secretary of Transportation Pushes For Child Seat Testing

Many Georgia parents employ child safety seats to protect the lives of their children without any reliable data as to the safety of the particular seat model. Now, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced that he will urge carmakers to crash-test child safety seats in their vehicles and recommend which child restraints are the safest in each auto.
If adopted, this new system would be a victory for parents who struggle to find the best car seats for their children. While federal regulators rate new cars for safety, they have no such system for child car seats. Making matters more difficult, a child restraint that performs well in one vehicle may perform poorly in another because it doesn’t fit snugly in that back seat.
Secretary LaHood’s action comes after the Chicago Tribune revealed that nearly half of all infant restraints failed catastrophically or exceeded injury limits when federal contractors strapped them into the back seats of model-2008 vehicles and crashed those cars and trucks into walls at 35 m.p.h.. NHTSA used those tests to rate the safety of the cars, not the child restraints in them.
At LaHood’s insistence, the NHTSA child seat crash-test results — including reports, video and photos — are posted online.
European regulators require automakers to include child seats in their crash tests of new cars. The safety rating for those European vehicles is based in part on how they protect children. LaHood held up the European system as a model.
LaHood said he would push for a voluntary system. The secretary said he also ordered NHTSA to institute stringent safety standards for child seats in side-impact crashes, which account for one third of infant highway deaths.

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