Parents welcome side-impact car seats

Proposal to implement new seats in three years


Call him a toting grandparent.  Bruce Woodward of Tampa gets the privilege of driving his grandchildren around town during the week while their parents are working.  But that also means buckling and unbuckling the kids into car seats with every stop.

Woodward was particularly interested in the latest testing for car seats that's focused on developing technology for side car collisions, not just head on crashes.

"Adults have the airbags for side impacts, and kids need similar protection," Woodward said.  "They're looser and liable to get jerked around more."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a proposal to implement rules that will add side impact safety during the next three years.

"This proposal would save the lives of five children every single year, and prevent over 60 injuries each year," said David Friedman, acting director of the NHTSA.  

While the numbers seem small, the agency said those were very conservative numbers, and that the effects of the new technology would be likely be much greater.

The NHTSA found that a significant number of crashes with injuries to children are not only head-on collisions, but also "t-bone" crashes.  In particular, when vehicles are standing still at an intersection.

"I always get scared that somebody's going to hit me from the side or the back," said Karla Martinez, a Tampa mom with two kids.  "All the crazy people who don't know how to drive."

The new seats would likely cost more, but for Martinez, that's a small price to pay for more safety for her children.

"It's a necessity.  When you have a kid you have to make sacrifices for the kid."


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