NHTSB Focuses on Child Safety Systems

Laws that would mandate the use of child safety seats for all children up to the age of eight could be on the horizon.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Highway Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB), said she is lobbying each of the 50 state legislatures to pass the measure to improve child safety in passenger vehicles. Hersman made her call – the first in a year-long program – in December. To highlight the effort, she renewed her status as a Certified Passenger Safety Technician.

The NHTSA’s current recommendations suggest children up to the age of four and weighing 40 pounds or less be placed in secured child safety seats. Children over the age of four and weighing more than 40 pounds should be placed in booster seats until age eight.

However, child safety seat laws vary across the nation. Only two states, Tennessee and Wyoming, subscribe to the rule using age eight as a standard, while the majority of states use the age of seven as the limit. One state, Florida, mandates safety seats for children up to age three.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2006, as many as 425 children under the age of five were saved in vehicle crashes by being placed in child safety seats. The CDC also says that the risk of death for children in child safety seats is reduced by 71 percent for infants and more than 50 percent for toddlers up to the age of four. For children older than four, placement in booster seats reduces injury by nearly 60 percent.

When a car accident does occur and you or your child suffers serious injuries, experts advise contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney.