February 23, 2012 by Ray LaHood
Fast Lane, The Official Blog of Secretary of Transportation
At DOT, we are very proud of our special family. But this time, I don't mean the terrific public servants who work hard day in and day out to keep our nation moving safely and efficiently. No, I'm talking about the one family that literally puts their bodies on the line to make sure the vehicles on our roadways are safe--the crash test dummies of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
And, as with other families, the kids in NHTSA's safety family have been growing. So this week, NHTSA introduced the newest addition to the family of crash-test dummies, a 10-year-old.
The Hybrid III 10-year-old size child test dummy -- known to the rest of the family as HIII-10C -- weighs 77.6 pounds and has a sitting height of 28 inches. HIII-10C is the best tool currently available for measuring the risk of injury to a child using a higher-weight child restraint system in the event of a vehicle crash.
It's good news that manufacturers are making more car seats and boosters than ever before designed to keep older and heavier children safer on our roadways. But, that also means evaluating restraint systems for children in the 8- to 12-year-old age range has become increasingly important. HIII-10C gives us a great way to do that.
H3-10C seatedWe developed HIII-10C together with new safety seat requirements that were updated to keep pace with the latest research and child restraint technologies. The final rule issued by NHTSA this week amends the current federal child safety seat standard to include car seats and boosters specified for children weighing more than 65 pounds and up to 80 pounds.
The expanded standards use HIII-10C to evaluate how well these higher-weight restraint systems manage crash energy. They also use it to see whether an older child's safety seat's structure stays intact in a crash. As NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said, "Our new dummy is an excellent addition to NHTSA's extensive child seat compliance testing program and enables the agency to gather the best data yet on the performance of higher-weight child seats."
Last year, NHTSA recommended that parents and caregivers keep children in a car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the height and weight specifications of the seat. NHTSA also recommends that children ride in a booster seat until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. Typically, that doesn't happen until a child is somewhere between 8-12 years old and about 4 feet 9 inches tall.
There is only one goal in this new guidance: to keep America's children as safe as possible on our roadways. And we're happy to welcome HIII-10C to our special safety family to help us further pursue that important mission.