NHTSA Unveils New Child Crash Test Dummy, Amends Child Seat Standard For Heavier Children

February 23, 2012

Under development for the past decade, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has just unveiled a new addition to its crash test dummy family: a 10-year-old child crash test dummy.

The reason the NHTSA is adding the child-sized crash test dummy is to evaluate how higher-weight child seats perform in a crash. According to NHTSA statistics, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children ages three to fourteen.

The new dummy, officially called the Hybrid III-10C,  weighs 78 pounds and has a sitting height of 28 inches, simulating the size of a 10-year-old child.

“It’s good news that manufacturers are making more car seats and boosters than ever before designed to keep older and heavier children safer on our roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in a statement. “As the marketplace evolves to accommodate changing consumer needs, it’s important that safety regulators also have the best tools possible for evaluating how these products work.”

The NHTSA also issued a final rule that amends the federal child safety seat standard to include car seats and boosters specified for children weighing more than 65 pounds and up to 80 pounds. The rulemaking thereby establishes standards for child restraint systems that were previously not regulated by a safety standard, i.e., child restraints manufactured for children weighing 65 to 80 pounds.

The expanded standard will evaluate how well the higher-weight restraint systems manage crash energy and if the seat’s structure remains intact by incorporating the use of the dummy in compliance tests for the first time ever.

The NHTSA said that manufacturers will have two years to certify their higher-weight car seats and booster seats to meet the new requirements.

Read the final NHTSA rule here.  

Click here to see the NHTSA’s child seat guidelines.

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