The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the rules, which are mandated by Congress and would apply to all car seats for children weighing up to 40 pounds, could save lives.
“We estimate that this proposal would save the lives of five children every single year, and prevent over 60 injuries each year,” NHTSA Acting Administrator David Friedman told a Society of Automotive Engineers gathering in Washington.
NHTSA said manufacturers in recent years have begun beefing up car seat structures and adding more padding to protect the head and torso, noting that those products are effective at protecting kids.
But the government wants protocols in place for testing those products as well as formal performance standards for safety in side-impact crashes, which kill or seriously injure as many children as frontal-impact collisions, the agency said.
There currently is a federal safety requirement car seats must meet for frontal crashes.