To evaluate the safety of child seats and boosters meant for children who weigh over 65 pounds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now has a crash-test dummy that resembles a 10-year-old kid. The NHTSA released a statement to say that the new dummy is the best tool to assess the risk to a child who is using a higher-weight child-restraint system in the event of a crash.
In the last 10 years, the agency said that it has made recommendations like urging parents to use a booster seat for younger children that have aided in virtually eliminating deaths as a result of airbag-induced injuries.
The latest NHTSA crash statistics indicate that in 2008, there were zero adult fatalities but one child death due to airbag-induced injuries in the U.S. The agency said that deaths that result from injuries caused by deploying airbags had its highest incidence in 1997, with 53 deaths (which include 31 children).
In a statement, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that it’s “good news” that there are more seats and boosters made by manufacturers now that are meant to raise the safety of the older and heavier children on the roads.
He said that the marketplace is changing in order to adapt to the evolving consumer needs and so it’s “important” that safety regulators have the “best tools possible” to gauge how well these products function.
The NHTSA last Tuesday issued a final rule that revises the federal child safety seat standard to include car seats and boosters built specifically for children who weigh between 65 pounds and 80 pounds. The agency said that this standard will assess the performance of higher-weight restraint systems in managing a crash. It also checks if the seat’s structure remains intact, integrating the use of the dummy in compliance tests for the first time.