Better Child Safety Restraints an Issue of Design

Posted & filed under Car Insurance News.

Safety advocates are decrying that lack of federal child protection ratings systems in the United States that allow a nearly 50 percent failure rate in rear-seat restraints for children.

“The United States is the richest and most influential county in the world, but our government refuses to adopt policies that would illustrate the dangers faced by our children and force automobile manufacturers to engineer safer rear-seat child restraints,” said Martha Bidez, a professor of safety engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham quoted in a story for Insurance Journal.

“No other industry would be satisfied with a 50 percent failure rate in the performance of its systems,” said Bidez, “and yet tens of thousands of child passengers die or are injured traumatically each year due to the performance of rear-seat restraints.”

Car accidents are listed as the leading cause of death in children in the United States between the ages of 3 and 14 years. “I last testified before the NHTSA in 2006 to call for the creation of a child-protection ratings system in either the administration’s Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards or its consumer-based New Car Assessment Program,” said Bidez. To date, no such system has been adopted.

The risk to child passengers could, in Bidez’ estimation, be reduced to acceptable levels by better design. “We have collected extensive data in my lab indicating that cars can be made safer for U.S. children with simple design changes,” said Bidez. “It is just a matter of having these policies in place that require manufacturers to employ these changes.” ï » ¿