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NHTSA Child Safety Changes

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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Announces Major Improvements to Child Passenger Safety


WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today introduced a new crash test dummy and proposed new regulatory updates to improve the safety of child restraint systems. The announcement comes during Child Passenger Safety Week, September 20-26, 2020.

“Every child’s life is precious, and the Department’s work will save young lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

Known as the Q3s, the new crash test dummy represents a 3-year-old child and is the first child side impact dummy in federal regulations.  It was specifically designed for testing child seats in side impact crash tests.  This advanced dummy will provide more realistic data about the effect side impact crashes have on children.  The agency’s final rule on this new crash test dummy enables NHTSA to assess the safety of child seats in side crashes.  Click here for the final rule.

NHTSA is also proposing numerous upgrades to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 Frontal Impact Tests for Child Restraint Systems to make testing more representative of real-world child seat use in modern vehicles, including proposing to require that labels on child seats encourage that young children remain in rear-facing child seats until they outgrow the rear-facing height and weight limits of the seat.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking also seeks comment on providing flexibilities for child seat labeling requirements that could better inform the public on the correct use of child restraint systems and allowing additional means for parents and caregivers to register their child seats to receive recall information.  Click here to view the notice.

In a separate NPRM, today NHTSA proposed to amend Appendix A-1 of FMVSS No. 208 to update the child restraint systems listed in the Appendix.  The child seats listed in the Appendix are used by NHTSA to test air bag suppression or low-risk deployment systems in vehicles to ensure that they mitigate the risk of harm to children and infants.  The Appendix was last updated in 2008, and many models are no longer available.  Updating the list will make it easier for vehicle manufacturers and test laboratories to acquire newer testing seats.  Click here to view the notice.