Your Child's Car Seat Isn't As Safe As You Think

car seatWhen we put our kids in their car seats -- coats off, buckle here, buckle there, snap, snap, snap, secure -- we feel like we've got them in this chamber of safety. It seems so safe, when we put on our own seat belt, we think, Wow, that's it? Even with all the buckling and protection that a car seat offers a child, adults are still safer in the event of an accident with our simple seat belt. This is because kids' bodies just aren't as developed or able to survive an accident without an increased risk of harm. We have to be on top of the latest car seat safety rules. Thankfully federal regulators are and have proposed a new standard for car seat side-impact protection. But this so-called new standard has been trying to get passed for a decade.

As it is now, the side-impact protection on many seats is not safe enough because car seats were only required to test based on accidents from the front. There's a good chance your kid's car seat isn't as safe as it could be.

Wait. Really? We can create phones that FaceTime with people across the planet and yet we cannot get this car seat thing right? Sad. This proposal -- to test from the side and make adjustments to the way the seats are made -- is believed to be able to save the lives of five kids a year and eliminate 64 injuries. This must be implemented and become standard safety procedure in the making of all seats. All the time. Starting yesterday. NHTSA Administrator David Friedman said that it hasn't taken a decade because they were dragging their feet. He shared that "it's more complicated than you would think." Kids were being hurt in side crashes but how to properly protect them wasn't clear until now. I'm also frustrated with the car seat makers -- the testing should have been done sooner. But I'm glad it seems something is being done now.

If passed -- or should I say when passed -- manufacturers have three years to amend their products. Their research also suggests that it only comes out to be 50 cents more a seat to make these changes. Kids' lives are worth more than that. Get to it, seat makers! This is why choosing what car seat to buy is so important. You may have a seat that is better side-impact protected right now, or you may not. This safety standard change covers car seats for kids up to 40 pounds, and the technology protects the child's head and chest in the event of a T-bone type of crash.

There are some car seats that are up to speed with the latest and best safety implementations. Dorel's Safety 1st, for example, sells two models -- the Advance 70 Air + Convertible Car Seat and the Elite 80 3-in-1 Car Seat -- which provide full-body side impact protection up to 30 miles per hour. Some are not. When it comes to car seats, do research, consult with car seat experts, buy new, and make it the one item you splurge on if you have to. Cheap and kids' lives are two things that should never go together.

Are you concerned about your child's car seat now? What do you think of this information? Shouldn't have they been on this quicker?


Image courtesy Ginger Summerford Gorrell

car seat safety, gear


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miche... micheledo

I'm not sure how I feel.

5 kids a year isn't that many.  I'm sure there are many other products that kill more then 5 kids a year.  IMO, this is just the popular topic.  

And I will be curious to see how these new seats look and fit in a vehicle.  When you have 6 children in car seats, what kind of seat is very important.  They have to fit right on top of each other.  If the safety features will make the seats bulkier what will families with more children do?  It's not as simple as getting a bigger vehicle.  (we just bought a 12 passenger van this summer and the car seats don't have enough room to rearface except for the seat that is behind the space between the driver and passenger.  So only our infant rear faces.

amazz... amazzonia

at office max, fed ex, etc... they sell bubble wrap, I suggest you stock up on that

Miss.... Miss.Mommie.

5 kids a year isn't many? Sooo, what if one of the five happens to be yours?

It's 50 cents!

Kristin Roby

Soon the one in the picture a good one or bad? It's the exact one my dd uses

malex... malexander2009

No I am not conserned. I am more conserned about the way the government thinks they have a right to dictate every little aspect of mine and my kids lives.

ahem-... ahem-excuseme

I just bought that safety 1st car seat two days ago. Side impacts scare me. I do think the responsibility should be on parents to do their research instead of more federal regulations.

nonmember avatar Cynthia

As an emergency services worker and a parent of 3, I would love to see this implemented especially at such a low cost, so long as the manufacturers don't jack up the costs and keep it to the cost of manufacturing increase. I also agree with manufacturers needing to keep them small, slim and streamlined to fit multiple seats in vehicles. Saying people should buy bigger vehicles or have less kids isn't the solution either with children needing to stay in car seats much longer with newer safety regulations!


Am I the only one that thinks the price increase would end up being more than 50¢?

Rebecca Peterson

And the car seats already manufactured that do protect against side crashes are at 30 mph. Cool and all, however, most T-bones I hear about the average speed is 35-40. Cars were safer when they were made in steel, rather than this fiberglass crap. We have flimsy cars, and are shocked that now auto accidents are nearly devastating?

nonmember avatar BostonBob

@Malexander, are you saying you would deliberately do something that you knew was unsafe for your child?

And it's "conCerned". No "S".

And the problems with "Federal" is that if not for the NHTSA doing this, no other agency, public or private, would conduct this research. It's not a Law, just a strong recommendation about keeping your kids safe. The fact that the car seat manufacturers know how to make safer seats, but are waiting to be forced to by federal regulators is not comforting.

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