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New Federal Program to Boost Child Car Seat Safety

By David Goguen | Last updated on

Parents and caregivers will have an easier time choosing a child seat that will be a good fit for their vehicles, and car seats will undergo more rigorous crash testing under a new program being developed by federal safety officials -- a key part of a comprehensive mandate to improve child passenger safety in vehicles and strengthen federal standards for child car seats.

Based on the findings of a task force of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) experts, the agency "will institute a new program beginning with the 2011 model year to make it easier for parents to choose child safety seats. Car manufacturers will recommend specific seats in various price ranges that fit for individual vehicles," according to an announcement from the National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children 2 to 14 years of age, and most of those deaths can be attributed to parents' and caregivers' failure to use (or use properly) child car seats and seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). And since side impact crashes are responsible for about one-third of all traffic deaths among children under 13, as NHTSA reports, new side impact crash tests and safety standards are necessary.  

A study released late last year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that a number of child booster seats aren't doing what they're supposed to do in terms of enhancing the safety of young vehicle passengers: improve the fit of lap and shoulder belts (learn more about the IIHS booster seat study).

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