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Car Seats Should Survive Side-Impact Crashes, Feds Say

<p>Car seats should be able to survive side-impact car crashes, the government is saying for the first time ever.</p>
A child sits in a rear-facing car seat with an adult in the driver's seat.
A child sits in a rear-facing car seat with an adult in the driver's seat.NHTSA

For the first time ever, the government has said that children's car seats should be able to survive a side-impact or "T-bone" crash.

The recommendation came Wednesday from new regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that would upgrade federal motor vehicle safety standards for child seats for kids weighing up to 40 pounds.

The new rules would save the lives of five children and prevent injuries to 64 per year, the agency estimated.

According to research, most child deaths in side-impact crashes occur when a car accelerates after stopping at a stop light or intersection and is struck by a faster car coming from the cross street. Under NHTSA's newly proposed test standards, car seats must prevent the intruding door from harming the child's head and reduce the crash forces striking the child's head and chest.

The test would use a first of its kind sled that simulates a car's front slamming at 30 mph into the side of a car going 15 mph. It would also employ a new side-impact dummy to represent a 3-year-old child, in addition to the existing 12-month-old dummy.

‘‘As a father of two, I know the peace of mind this proposed test will give parents,’’ Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "Today's proposal will give parents and car seat makers important new data on how car seats perform in side crashes.’’

Information on help with child seat recalls and installing car seats can be found at

Tony Capra contributed to this report.