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April 01, 2004  |   Comments (0)   |   Post a comment

New guidance on 'crashed' car seats offered by NHTSA


WASHINGTON, D.C. — After performing research on child safety seat performance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that child safety seats can be reused after minor crashes. This counters NHTSA’s earlier advice that safety seats involved in any type of accident be discarded.

The new guidance helps alleviate unnecessary financial burden on school bus operators, who routinely threw out car seats after the bus was involved in an accident.

“Current research indicates that child safety seats are very robust and continue to provide high levels of protection even after being involved in a minor crash,” said NHTSA Administrator Jeffrey W. Runge. “Our new advice reflects this research.”

However, NHTSA still recommends consulting with the seat manufacturer regarding performance, operation and installation of the child restraint.

NHTSA defines a minor crash as one in which all of the following apply:


  • No visual damage was done to the seat.


  • The vehicle with the seat installed was able to drive away from the crash.


  • The vehicle door nearest the seat was undamaged.


  • No injuries were caused to vehicle occupants.


  • Air bags (if any) did not deploy.

    Additional information about the new guidance can be found at

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