Side-Airbags Coming to Baby Seats in the Carolinas

Believe it or not, your child’s car seat likely isn’t tested for overall safety. It’s not tested to calculate safety in the event of a side-impact accident. But that could all change if officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have their way.
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According to the Los Angeles Times, car seats could soon be required to be tested in side-impact accidents under new proposed regulations. Under this new proposal, officials are looking to upgrade the standards for the child car seats used for children who weigh under 40 pounds. With this new standard, officials believe that they can help to save young lives and help to prevent injuries.

Our Greensboro child injury lawyers understand that car seats, and the proper use of them, are vital in keeping children safe in our vehicles. Under the proposal, officials are calling on a new test to simulate a “t-bone” accident. In this scenario, the front of a vehicle traveling at 30 mph would hit the side of another vehicle traveling at 15 mph, as this is the most common scenario on U.S. roadways accounting for about 90 percent of side-impact crashes.

There’s no question that infant and child safety seats have helped slash highway death tolls in recent years. When installed and used correctly, the NHTSA says safety seats can reduce fatalities among infants by up to 71 percent and 54 percent for toddlers. Unfortunately motor-vehicle accidents still remain the number one cause of death among children.

The proposal, which followed a directive from Congress and has been years in the making, is considered a major step in a larger effort to improve the safety of car seats for small children.

This test will be used so that parents and consumers don’t have to rely on the overall crash worthiness rating of a vehicle when choosing, but can instead focus in more on child safety.

When looking at accident characteristics, we can see that many child fatalities and injuries in side-impact accidents happen when the vehicle is stopped at an intersection or at a red light and is slammed into another vehicle traveling faster than they are on the cross street.

But not only will the test be new, but there will be a new dummy involved. In addition to using only the 1-year-old dummy, officials have proposed using a new 3-year-old dummy as well.

According to the NHSTA, the number of children who have died in car seats has gone down – in 2002 there were 614 deaths, while in 2011 there were 397.

Assuming the regulations are made final — there’s a 90-day public comment period that starts after the standards are published this week — the AP says car seat manufacturers would have a three-year window to bring their products into compliance.

Before choosing a car seat for your child, make sure you do your homework. Check out safety ratings and check to make sure that your seat fits for your child’s weight and height. Insure it’s installed correctly as well for maximum protection.

Contact the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Keeping Child Travelers Safe — “Let’s Go NC!”, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, September 4, 2013

Hidden Dangers in and Around Your Vehicle, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 28, 2013

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