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NHTSA Updates Crash Test Dummy Testing

A Chicago car accident lawyer here observed that we have seen many car companies putting more effort into creating cars that are safer for all different types of bodies – male and female, small and large. On the same note the National Highway Traffic Safety Association has been working on new technologies and running innovative tests to help improve safety for everyone as well. The Washington Post reported that the NHTSA has even added a new crash dummy to their collection this year in order to test the safety of child seats. According to the article, the dummy is modeled after the size of a ten-year-old, or a child that would be graduating from a booster seat to a seat belt. According to the article, the new dummy will be used in “evaluating the effectiveness of child seats and boosters for children weighing more than 65 pounds.”

Our Illinois car accident lawyers hope that the dummy will allow the NHTSA to test and find the new data about how effective higher-weight child safety seats and safety belts are. According to the NHTSA website, over 1,300 children under the age of 15-years-old were killed in 2009, with close to 180,000 injured. Having an appropriate fitting safety seat or seat belt for an older child could help to reduce the risk of death or serious injury by 50 percent for kids who are four-years-old and over.

Child safety seats are crucial for the safety of children of all sizes. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a rear-facing seat in the back seat for babies who are under one-year-old and weigh less than 20 pounds. The next stage of safety seats are forward-facing seats in the back seat that should be for kids who are 5 and weigh less than 40 pounds. Children under the age of 8-years-old and are less than 4 feet 9 inches tall should ride in a booster seat, and once they are 13 they can ride in the back seat with a seat belt.

Because of issues like obesity, many young children can be over the weight limits of their suggested seating arrangement. As mentioned previously, car manufacturers are working on correcting issues like these for making seats that are more suited to different adult body types, and the NHTSA hopes that manufactures will respond by adjusting the design of their vehicles’ seats to safely accommodate children of different weights. The NHTSA also created a new rule that was issued in February stating that there are new “safety standards for car and booster seats for children weighing between 65 and 80 pounds.” The article summarizes by saying that automobile and safety seat manufactures will have until 2014 to ensure that their seats meet the requirements.

Each Chicago accident lawyer at our firm is in full support of this new the addition to the NHTSA’s family of dummies that represents people ranging from newborn to adult. Evaluating child safety systems will help to determine what needs to be improved to keep today’s children safer and we hope that the creation of new seats that will be able to fit a larger range of children in order to keep them protected should the car be involved in an accident.