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

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