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Precious Cargo: NHTSA expands child seat testing to include side impact ‘t-bone’ test

Washington, D.C. — The U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted final approval on Monday to a set of updates to testing requirements for child safety seats which introduced a 48 km/h side impact “t-bone” test to the list of requirements.

“Side-impact collisions cause serious injuries and deaths in young children each year,” said NHTSA administrator, Dr. Steven Cliff.

“By establishing more comprehensive testing requirements, we are advancing child passenger safety and assuring parents that the safety seat they choose for their child must meet the highest safety standards.”

This ruling from the U.S. government’s automotive safety regulator amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, “Child restraint systems,” by adding a t-bone test to the child seat testing requirements, which already call for a 48 km/h frontal impact test.

According to the NHTSA, the test relies on a sliding vehicle seat mounted on rails, known as a sled, and a vehicle door mounted on the sled to resemble the vehicle and simulates what happens to a child and child seat in a T-bone crash.

Currently, the only crash testing Transport Canada mandates in its child car seat safety compliance testing is the 48 km/h frontal impact test, using a similar sled-based method to the NHTSA.

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