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Monthly Archive:: March 2009

Britax, Safe Kids & NHTSA Responses to Tribune Article

From Britax:

3/2/2009
The Chicago Tribune published a story Sat., Feb 28th that covered the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests. In this article, the reporter raises concerns about the highway-speed safety of car seats. The purpose of NHTSA’s NCAP tests are to test the performance of cars in frontal collisions to provide carmakers and consumers with information about the performance of vehicles – not child seats.

Britax welcomes any changes to current federal standards that work toward furthering child safety. For example, we fully embrace NHTSA’s efforts to encourage parents to use a five-point harness and keep their children in rear-facing positions for as long as possible. We also support NHTSA’s effort to implement side impact testing as a part of the federal standard, and have shared our own side impact testing practices with them. We look forward to working with NHTSA to continually advance the standards child seats are held to, and the protection they offer.

 

From Safe Kids:

Are Car Seats Safe?

 

An article in the March 1, 2009 edition of the Chicago Tribune suggested that unpublicized government crash tests from 2008 may have revealed “flaws” in car seats. While the details of the tests are still unclear, one thing remains undisputed: car seats save children’s lives every day. It is critical that parents and caregivers continue to use car seats for their children.

Correctly used car seats and booster seats are extremely effective, reducing the risk of death in a crash by as much as 71 percent. And the number of children killed in crashes over the past 30 years has dropped significantly, mostly due to the widespread use of car seats and enhanced child passenger safety laws.

Safe Kids USA always puts children and their safety first. Despite the report in the Tribune, the car seats on the market today are still the best, proven way to protect children in the event of a crash. Parents should continue to buckle their children in the right car seat or booster seat on every ride.

Safe Kids believes that more testing for car seats and vehicles can only continue to advance the child passenger safety field and improve the level of protection we can offer children when they ride. The more we know about car seats and how they react in crashes, the better equipped we will be to push for new technology and improvements that will keep children safer.

But there are a few important things a parent can do today to make sure their child is getting the best protection when using a car seat or booster seat:

  • Always use the right restraint for your child’s height, weight and developmental age.
  • Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions that came with the car seat.
  • Make sure your car seat and vehicle work together. For example, the largest car seat on the market may not fit in a compact car as well as a smaller car seat. Remember all seats meet the same Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
  • Get help installing your seat the right way. Find a Safe Kids car seat checkup event at http://www.safekidsweb.org/events/events.asp. A certified car seat technician will guide you to the right seat for your child and vehicle and teach you how to install it correctly.
  • All children under 13 should ride in a backseat.

 

 

NHTSA Statement on Review of Federal Standards for Child Safety Seats

March 2, 2009. At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the safety of infants and children is vitally important.

That is why parents and caregivers alike can be assured that correctly placing your child in a safety seat in the rear of the vehicle is absolutely the best protection against serious or fatal injury in a crash.

Every single child seat on the market today meets our rigorous safety standards, without exception. Our standards mean that each and every child seat on the market must withstand a crash test that replicates the forces found in nearly 99 percent of all crashes involving infants.

Though current standards are exceedingly tough, the agency is always looking at ways to make highway travel even safer for children. Accordingly, NHTSA has launched a top to bottom review of current child safety seat standards. That review will be swift and thorough.

Meanwhile, the parents of America need not be alarmed about the safety of children while riding in the family car.

Responding to the Chicago Tribune Article “Car Seat Tests Reveal Flaws”

The big news story of the moment comes to us courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.  As you have probably seen by now, they ran a story on Saturday, February 28 titled Car Seat Tests Reveal “Flaws”.    

So, is this overblown, sensationalistic journalism meant to sell more newspapers or is this a real ”Houston – we have a problem” issue?  Let’s take a look at what we do know at the moment:  

Unsafe Infant Child Seats Found in Crash Tests? Don’t Panic. Yet.

As you may know, the Chicago Tribune recently revealed data from some testing done by the government on infant car seats.  This wasn’t the usual sled testing used to pass child restraint models for sale to consumers.  It was a new type of testing done for research in conjunction with the NCAP testing of new vehicles by the NHTSA, something not required for child seats.  Are the flaws a major concern?  Is this important for the safety of your baby?  Is it another Consumer Reports type of blunder with improper test methods, leading to hysteria among parents?  Perhaps somewhere in between?

I’m out of town on a short trip, but Heather and Kecia are working round-the-clock to sort through all the fine details!  Stay tuned this week for the 411 on what you really need to know about crash tests and infant carrier and base child seat models from Graco, Combi and others.  In the mean time, federal officials interested in a long-overdue update of their standards might read our blog from last year on the subject of inadequate testing:

http://carseatblog.com/?p=121