Obama administration proposing new child car seat safety guidelines

    6:55 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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    (CNN) -- The Obama administration is proposing new safety guidelines for car seats. They want to make sure child restraints protect kids in side-impact crashes. Current car seats are only required to protect kids in crashes from the front or the rear.

    It's easy for a parent to assume their child will be safe when they put him in a car seat; that's what the car seat is for, but despite government guidelines and safety standards, that might not always be the case.

    A promotional video highlights one of the major concerns; a crash from the front isn't the same as a crash from the side. David Friedman, NHTSA Acting Administrator, "When you look at a frontal or rear collision with a vehicle, there's a lot of structure there in the front or the rear. In a side impact, you're literally right at that door. "It'll crush the door. The door will crush into the panel. And then, as it's going in, it'll actually hit the child restraint."

    While many car seats have safety features meant to protect kids in side-impact crashes, there aren't any federal guidelines requiring them.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that products like these can be effective, but officials want to establish protocols to make sure they are. Friedman said, "The proposed upgrades would include the first-ever side-impact test for car seats sold in the United States that are designed for children weighing up to 40 pounds."

    While car seat companies such as safety first tout their own testing, the government agency that oversees them wants formal performance standards and wants to implement a sled-test involving an actual vehicle that t-bones another.

    The Obama administration believes these standards would help save the lives of five children every year, and keep dozens more from being injured.

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