The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new test dummy yesterday in an effort to further improve its crash testing procedures.
The new dummy weighs 74 pounds and is meant to simulate a child nearing the maximum recommended size for a car seat: 80 pounds. That figure was recently revised by NHTSA, where the group previously suggested children shoudl remain in car steats until their grew past 4 feet, 9 inches tall or were older than eight.
“Our new dummy is an excellent addition to NHTSA’s extensive child seat compliance testing program and will enable the agency to gather the best data yet on the performance of higher-weight child seats,” said David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator.”Even as we begin to reap the benefits of this new tool, NHTSA is already looking down the road and has research under way to further improve the dummy.”
Scientific studies suggesting heavier weight recommendations for children remaining in auxiliary restraints like car seats caused a shift in statistics as children remained in them later. That in turn forced NHTSA to add the dummy meant to mimic a typical 10-year-old child.
“It’s good news that manufacturers are making more car seats and boosters than ever before designed to keep older and heavier children safer on our roadways,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The new test dummy breaks new ground for the Department’s crash test program and is a significant step forward for evaluating child seat performance.”