Washington, D.C. – A new crash test dummy, replicating a ten-year-old child, will be used to evaluate child safety and booster seats. The dummy was unveiled by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which said it is the best tool currently available for measuring the risk of injury to a child weighing more than 65 pounds (29 kg) using a higher-weight child restraint system.

“It’s good news that manufacturers are making more car seats and boosters than ever before designed to keep older and heavier children safer on our roadways,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “As the marketplace evolves to accommodate changing consumer needs, it’s important that safety regulators also have the best tools possible for evaluating how well these products work. The new test dummy breaks new ground for the department’s crash test program, and is a significant step forward for evaluating child seat performance.”

The new dummy will provide information, never before available, which captures the risk of injuries using knee and head excursions, as well as chest acceleration. NHTSA has amended the current federal child safety seat standard to include car seats and boosters specified for children weighing more than 65 pounds and up to 80 pounds (36 kg). The expanded standard will evaluate how well the higher-weight restraint systems manage crash energy and if the seat’s structure stays intact, by incorporating use of the dummy for the first time ever in compliance tests.

Manufacturers will have two years to certify their higher-weight car seats and boosters to meet the new requirements.

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