For the first time, child car seats would have to protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes, under regulations proposed Wednesday by the federal government.

Car Seat
Flickr User Jim Champion

They would upgrade standards for child seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds, to include a new test that simulates a side crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes the standards will prevent the deaths of about five children and injuries to more than 60 others each year.

The new tests will simulate a "T-bone" crash, where the front of a vehicle traveling 30 miles an hour strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle traveling at 15 miles an hour.

Research shows that many child deaths and injuries in side-impact crashes involve a car carrying children that is stopped at an intersection, usually at a light or a stop sign. When the car begins to accelerate to go through the intersection, it is struck in the side by a vehicle traveling at a higher rate of speed.

The regulations won't be final until the safety agency has reviewed public comments and addressed any important issues that may be raised. It typically takes months and sometimes years, but the agency says it wants to move quickly.


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