Car seats are required to meet federal safety standards. In this article, learn how crash testing works on car seats for newborn, infant, and toddler to ensure safety.

Car Seats Crash Testing 2019

Purchasing a car seat is vital to ensure the safety of your child, no matter how short or long the distance of your drive is. Whether you’re looking for a convertible car seat or a booster seat for your preschooler, it should be safe enough to protect and restrain your little one on all types of accidents including roll-overs and must meet the road safety standards set by the government. Furthermore, you should also be aware of the car seat recalls of 2019 to ensure that the safety seat you’re considering is not part of it.

How The Tests Are Created

Companies that crash tested infant/toddler car seats 2019 study the researches on various pattern and biomechanics on child injuries in different types of vehicle crashes. They also analyze crash test data and videos that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA conducts. Moreover, they consult with experts on automotive and child passenger safety to present an accurate result.

With the use of highly advanced and modern crash-test dummies and sensors, they create crash scenarios specifically designed for testing different car seat models. There are even companies doing crash tests that are quite severe compared to the minimum legal criteria to reflect real-life crash scenarios more accurately.

The car safety ratings are typically based on the tests they carried out utilizing the current crash protocol at an outside lab they’ve contracted. There are also in-house testing performed to check how simple a safety seat can be installed in various kinds of vehicles, as well as its ease of use.

The results of these tests are then combined to come up with the overall rating of the car seat being crash tested. They normally put more weight on the combined testing scores of ease of use and fit-to-vehicle than to the seat’s performance on the crash test. This is due to the fact that any seat will not be able to provide its maximum crash protection unless it has not been installed correctly or is being used inaccurately.

Determining Crash Test Results

Crash test results exhibit a massive difference between newborn, infant, and toddler car safety seats. There are models that can provide the utmost protection for your baby or preschooler, but there are also some that expose children to the potential of fatal injuries or even death. Keep in mind that the best car seat will be able to protect your child from both side and front-impact crashes.

Every child seat being tested undergo the same safety tests so that their weaknesses and strengths can be measured and compared. The following common questions are answered by these tests to determine its result:

  • Is the child seat safe or unsafe for use?
  • Does it fit the vehicle easily?
  • Will the child be comfortable in it?
  • Is there anything else consumers need to know?
  • Is there anything consumers need to watch out for like a special feature?
  • Should consumers buy the seat?

Different Types Of Crash Test

Full-Frontal Collision Test

This type of crash test is done using an acceleration sled fitted with a standard car body shell or bench seat. A crash-test dummy with age appropriate for the car seat is then fastened to the safety seat, with the use of a fixing point or a vehicle’s seat belt, it is secured in the child car seat.

The sled stimulates a frontal collision of about 50-70 km/h straight into a wall. The dummy and sled are installed with sensors and high-speed cameras which allows for checking of how extremely a car seat can protect your child. Furthermore, they also measure the following:

  • How far the dummy’s head moved forward.
  • How much head support the seat has.
  • The acceleration of head, chest, and pelvis.
  • Neck loads and abdominal loading.

Roll-Over Car Crash Test

The roll-over crash test for car seats was a new strict test that was included in July 2013. The safety assurance of this test exceeds those that were set by the earlier ECE R44-04 safety guidance. This new crash test checks and ensure that the child safety seats and other restraining systems will keep children in the safest possible position in the protective seat shell in case of any kind of accident.

Things To Remember When Installing Safety Seats

As your child grows, he will need different car seats. The safety seat should match his size, weight, and age. It should also be installed in your vehicle correctly, and its straps should be adjusted suitably so that your little one is snugly held in place.

Here are some important things you need to keep in mind when installing  car seats:

  • Before installing your child’s seat, make sure you’ve read its manual beforehand.
  • Follow the instructions of the manufacturer carefully when installing the seat. You may also want to consider having the seat installed in your car upon purchase.
  • With the exception of the booster seat with a lap-only seat belt, install the car seat in the center of your vehicle’s back seat whenever possible.
  • Always check that there’s no slack on the top strap and the vehicle’s seat belt.
  • Adjust the seat belt of the safety seat by pushing it firmly into your vehicle’s seat using your body weight to compress its cushions. This will help ensure that you will get a really tight fit and will minimize subsequent movement in the event of a crash.
  • Make sure that the child seat’s shoulder straps are positioned well. The shoulder straps of the rear-facing infant car seats should be placed just above the shoulders of your child. On the other hand, the shoulder straps of the forward-facing type should be placed at your child’s shoulders for up to 25mm.
  • Ensure that the harness is not loose and there are no twists. When using a harness with a lap belt, make sure to tighten its belt first before adjusting the harness.

How To Safely Use A Car Seat For Younger Babies

When traveling with your infant, the best position you can put him in is a flatter position. Not only will this provide comfort but help in the breathing of premature and newborns. When going on a road trip, always remember the two-hour rule, where it is not recommended to keep your baby in a car seat for more than two hours at a time. It is also advisable not to keep your baby in an infant seat for more than 30 minutes during his first month.

If you really need to travel within your baby’s first four weeks, consider taking regular 30-minute breaks or have a grown-up seat beside your child at the back seat to monitor him. Take your newborn from the safety seat for quick periods before hitting the road again.