The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently developed a new crash test dummy to test the effectiveness of child car seats and booster seats for children weighing over 65 pounds. Since the NHTSA released new recommendations last year increasing the amount of time children should ride in booster seats, the magnitude of new seats entering the marketplace ever since need to be adequately tested to ensure they meet national standards.
The newest addition to the team of crash dummies represents a 10-year-old child, and will help researchers effectively study the safety of booster seats designed for bigger children. The NHTSA will also use the dummy to research how crashes cause head, knee and neck injuries to children.
“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. “It’s important that safety regulators also have the best tools possible for evaluating how well these products work.”
The NHTSA now recommends keeping children in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly, which is 8 to 10 years old and 4’9”. Georgia law currently requires all children under the age of 8 to ride in a booster seat unless they are taller than 4’9”, or 57 inches.
Even though some kids may complain about still having to sit in a booster seat, it is very important to keep them in a safety seat as long as possible. A booster seat allows the seat belt to sit at a child’s shoulder and chest as opposed to sitting across his or her neck. It also keeps the lap belt over the hip and thigh instead of across the child’s belly. Children in a booster seat are 59% less likely to be injured in an accident than if they were just wearing a regular seat belt.
I am glad to see that the NHTSA has developed an anatomically correct dummy specifically for testing safety seats for heavier children. Since many states like Georgia now require the use of boosters for kids up to 8 years old, it is important that all of the seats on the market really do meet the federal safety standards for protecting kids.
Ty Wilson is a Savannah car crash lawyer who provides the public with FREE information on the topic of Georgia personal injury claims and buying car insurance in Georgia.