New regs sought for child car seats

WASHINGTON — Child car seats would for the first time have to protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes under regulations the government is proposing, The Associated Press has learned.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seeks to upgrade standards for child seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds to include a new test that simulates a side crash. The agency estimates the standards will prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to 64 others each year.

NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman is scheduled to announce the proposal Wednesday.

Under the proposal, the new tests will simulate a “T-bone” crash, where the front of a vehicle traveling 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 mph. The tests will position the car seat on a sled, with another sled ramming the side of the sled with the seat, rather than using actual vehicles since the aim isn’t to test the crash worthiness of specific vehicles, NHTSA officials said.

Research shows that most child deaths and injuries in side-impact crashes involve a car carrying children that is stopped at an intersection, usually at a light or stop sign, officials said. When the car begins to accelerate to go through the intersection, it is struck in the side by a vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed on the cross street.

The side-impact test — the first of its kind — simulates both the acceleration of the struck vehicle and the vehicle’s door crushing inward toward the car seat. Besides using a 12-month-old child dummy already approved under NHTSA standards, the proposed test will also utilize a to-be-developed side-impact dummy representing a 3-year-old child.

“As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. The test “will give parents and car seat makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes.”

Friedman called car seats “an essential tool for keeping young children safe in vehicles and have a proven track record of saving lives.”

The public will have 90 days to comment on the proposed regulations after they are published this week. The regulations won’t be made final until after the agency has reviewed the comments and answered any important issues that may be raised. That typically takes months and sometimes years, although NHTSA officials said they hope to move quickly.

The proposal includes giving car seat manufacturers three years to make any adjustments to meet the new requirements. That window doesn’t begin until the regulations are made final.

More in Local News

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Small fire breaks out at haunted house in Everett

Plastic that was supposed to be noncombustable was sitting next to a hot lightbulb.

Rules of the road for ‘extra-fast pedestrians’ — skateboarders

State traffic law defines them as pedestrians, and yet they are often in the middle of the street.

Distress beacon leads rescuers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers

Two men in their 20s had encountered snow and waited two nights for a helicopter rescue.

City of Everett to give $400K to a nonprofit housing project

The city expects to enter a contract with HopeWorks, an affiliate of Housing Hope.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Some damage undone: Thousands of heroin needles removed

Hand Up Project volunteers cleaned up a patch of woods that some of them had occupied near Everett.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Most Read