The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking for the first-ever side impact crash test for child restraint systems for children weighing up to 40 pounds in passenger vehicles.
The NPRM, published today on the Federal Register, satisfies a congressional mandate in the MAP-21 transportation reauthorization passed in 2012. It seeks to upgrade FMVSS 213 in protecting reducing crash forces to a child's head and chest during a T-Bone crash. It does not, however, apply to harnesses or to school buses, as the sled test proposed is "significantly different" from a school bus side-impact crash environment because it is designed for a small passenger car.
NHTSA said side impacts are especially dangerous when the impact is on the passenger compartment. Unlike a frontal or rear-end crash, there are no substantial, crushable metal structures between the occupant and the impacting vehicle or object. The door collapses into the passenger compartment and the occupants contact the door relatively quickly after the crash at a high relative velocity.
Child restraints would be tested with a newly developed instrumented side-impact test dummy, the Q3s, that represents a 3-year-old child along with a well-established 12-month-old child test dummy, the Child Restraint Air Bag Interaction (CRABI) dummy.
The proposal is open for public comment for 90 days. If finalized, a rule would take effect in three years.