Parents know use of a child's car seat can prevent a child's death and reduce the chances a car accident will cause serious injury. Parents count on car seats to be designed to maximize safety and count on crash tests to identify problems or weaknesses in car seat design so seats can be fixed to best protect kids.
An experienced T-Bone accident lawyer knows while crash tests and regulations are effective in making sure car seats work as well as possible to prevent injuries from head-on accidents, there are minimal current tests performed to ensure car seats work well if a side-impact crash happens.
T-Bone crashes can actually be more dangerous than head-on crashes because there is room for the hood of a car to crumple but not for the side of a car. The car's front end can absorb some impact from the force of the collision, but the side of a vehicle absorbs almost no force or momentum and it is all transferred to passengers. Because T-Bone collisions are already so dangerous, developing the most effective and protective car seat possible becomes even more essential.
Protecting Children from T-Bone Accident Risks
Safe Rides 4 Kids indicates efforts are being made to make crash testing better for car seats when children are involved in T-Bone collisions. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now proposing a new requirement for crash testing targeted towards child safety seats designed for children 40 pounds and under. Kids under age four usually are in these types of safety seats.
The new requirements for crash testing will involve conducting a test of car seats on specially-designed sleds, rather than in cars. Cars have safety features like side airbags, which can affect results of crash tests in side impact accidents. With the sleds, only the car seats will be assessed so a clearer understanding can be reached about their effectiveness. The focus of the crash testing will detect how car seats work in reducing injuries to the head, shoulders, and chest of a child involved in a T-Bone collision.
T-bone collisions get their name because when the two cars collide, the shape of a T is formed. One car goes straight and the other comes from a cross street and hits the side of the vehicle traveling straight (usually at an intersection). A child in the back seat of a vehicle could be directly impacted when the car is struck in the side. Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine suggests placing a child in the middle rear seat of a vehicle in a child seat appropriate to his weight in order to maximize chances a child will survive a collision with minimal injury.
NHTSA rules take a long time to move through the system. The proposed new regulation for crash testing will need to have a 90-day public comment period before it moves forward. Parents need to be aware car seats they are buying may not provide children full protection from t-bone collisions.