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Just 21 of 98 Vehicles Pass Child Safety Seats Test

Seven flunk entirely, warns new report.

by on Apr.12, 2012

Despite a decade-old federal mandate, a new study says it's still extremely difficult to accurately install a child safety seat in most vehicles.

The news is not good for parents who have counted on child safety seats to keep the kids out of harm’s way in the event of an accident.  Despite toughened federal standards and industry efforts, only 21 of 98 vehicles met the requirements for ease of use, and seven of the latest vehicles failed entirely in a new series of tests.

That’s a surprise considering it’s been a decade since federal regulators first mandated the Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH system.  The rule, which went into effect with the 2003 model-year, required manufacturers to simplify the process and make it easier for parents to be sure a safety seat is properly installed.

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But despite that, “Installing a child restraint isn’t always as simple as a couple of clicks and you’re done,” warned Anne McCartt, senior vice president for research with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the IIHS, which conducted the new test in cooperation with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, or UMTRI.


Volvo Cars Offers Three New Child Restraints

Children from newborn up to ten years old are protected, but not in the U.S. where a Government safety agency says no.

by on Apr.21, 2009


A revised seat can be kept facing rearward until the child is about four years old, depending on weight.

Volvo Car Corporation is adding three new child restraints to its approved accessories that it says are comfortable and easy to use. The trouble is Volvo owners in the U.S. won’t be able  to buy them because a rule by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration bans the sale of car specific seats.  Volvo has asked NHTSA to modify the rule, but so far only Europeans and Asians will be able to use them. Whether this results in a mini black market where parents bring the seats back from overseas is an interesting  question.

Particularly noteworthy in the new, three seat lineup is a revised rearward facing seat can be used for children up to six years of age, and can be kept facing rearward until the child is about four years old, depending on weight — longer than before. Since rearward facing seats are potentially safer for small children, this might be a safety breakthrough. 

A child’s neck is structural weak, compared to the weight of the head, and it is still growing. When travelling facing backwards, incoming collision forces are spread across the back and head, thus reducing the load on the neck in a frontal impact, which is the most common and often the most dangerous type of collision. For older children, it is important to continue to use a child restraint in the form of a booster seat. The booster seat protects the child’s under-developed hips and the soft abdomen by positioning the belt correctly across the thighs. 

“With our new rearward facing child restraints, children can travel rearward facing far longer than before, something that may save many lives,” says Jessika Andréasson, Product Manager at Volvo Cars. 

The Volvo branded child restraints will be available in Europe and Asia from authorized Volvo Car dealers during the summer of 2009. Anyone who travels with children in their cars is welcome to try the new child restraints, says Volvo. Dealers will offer instructions on how the child restraints should be fitted and how the children should be properly secured. 

“International accident surveys show that one of the most common causes of child injuries or fatalities in traffic is that the child restraint is not properly fitted or the child is not properly secured in the seat,” says Helena Larsson, Design Engineer at Volvo Cars. 

The child restraints are supplied with all the necessary fittings, such as snap hooks and other attachments, to permit easier installation, as well as instructions on how each particular child restraint should be fitted. 

Volvo Cars developed the seats with Britax Römer, a respected maker of child safety equipment. (more…)