Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Three types of devices designed to alert parents if they have left their babies strapped into car seats are not reliable, a new government report has found. The Washington Post reports on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s findings:
The performance of the devices — one that relies on a chest buckle sensor and two that use seat pads — is too inconsistent, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.
“These sense the presence of a child; they just don’t do it reliably enough,” said Kristy B. Arbogast, a researcher at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who tested the devices for the federal agency.
“While these devices are very well intended and we do appreciate the manufacturers and inventors, we have found a number of limitations in these devices,” NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland said. “We don’t think they can be used as the only countermeasure to make sure that you don’t forget your child behind in a car.”
The three devices are the Suddenly Safe Pressure Pad, the ChildMinder Smart Clip System and the ChildMinder Smart Pad. There was no immediate response from the three manufacturers.
The NHTSA report said that, in some cases, spilled liquids caused malfunctions, cellphone use interfered with device signals, devices turned off and on during travel and an improperly positioned child caused seat pads to malfunction.
“In sum, the devices require considerable effort from the parent/caregiver to ensure smooth operation,” the report said.
Image: Child in car seat, via Shutterstock.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unveiled a new crash test dummy meant to test child booster seats and restraints for children weighing more than 65 pounds. The move comes in advance of the 2014 implementation of new car safety guidelines, and with the introduction of a number of new booster seats and other safety devices aimed at children from ages 8-12.
“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,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
“As the marketplace evolves to accommodate changing consumer needs, it’s important that safety regulators also have the best tools possible for evaluating how well these products work. 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.”
The test dummy, known in government speak as the “Hybrid III 10-year-old child test dummy (HIII-10C),” weighs 35 kilograms (78 pounds) and will be used to check child seats and safety restraint systems, for children weighing between 66 and 80 pounds, in crash tests.
The government began requiring tests of child seats in 1979 with a 6-month-old child and a 3-year-old child, and has expanded the number and sizes of crash test dummies as new state-of-the-art models have become available, NHTSA said. But previous child dummies were limited to dummies representing 6-year-olds.
Image: Tween girl about to get into a car, via Shutterstock.