September 14, 2004
New regulations to prevent children being injured by power windows
Washington, D.C. – Jeffrey W. Runge, M.D., administrator of the U.S. Department of
Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has
announced a regulatory upgrade to enhance the safety of power window switches and
prevent child deaths and injuries caused by the inadvertent closing of car windows.
While the agency’s upgraded power window standard does not specify a particular
design, it will require that all passenger vehicles manufactured for sale in the
United States be equipped with a safer switch.
The regulation will prohibit non-recessed “rocker” or “toggle” switches that can be
unintentionally activated by a small child playing in a car. Most manufacturers are
expected to comply with the new rule through the use of recessed switches, or “pull
up-push down” switches that must be lifted to close the window.
“This regulation will prevent the tragedy of a child’s head or limb being caught in
a power window. Although these incidents are infrequent, a simple, inexpensive
remedy is available and should be standard practice,” Dr. Runge said.
Safer switches will be mandated in cars, vans, pickup trucks and sport utility
vehicles made for sale in the U.S. on or after October 1, 2008.