Federal traffic safety officials are calling for higher standards for child-safety seats to protect child passengers in side crashes.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed upgrading the standards to include a first-ever side-impact test for car seats sold in the U.S. for children weighing up to 40 pounds.
"As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a press statement. "We all want to make sure our children's car seats are as safe as possible, and today's proposal will give parents and car-seat makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes."
In the proposed test, car seats must demonstrate they can protect a child's head from contact with an intruding vehicle door and reduce the crash forces transmitted to the child's head and chest. Federal officials estimate the proposal would save five lives and prevent 64 injuries a year.
Under the proposal, car seats would be tested in a specially designed sled test that simulates 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 sled test is the first of its kind in the world being proposed for regulation. It simulates both the acceleration of the struck vehicle and the vehicle door crushing toward the car seat.
The agency proposed giving car-seat manufacturers three years to make any necessary changes to meet the proposed requirements upon publication of the final rule.
Notice of the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register, and the public has 90 days to comment.