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Orange County, California

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John Bisnar
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Feds Try To Clear Confusion About Child Car Seats

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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is asking manufacturers, retailers and consumer groups to make child safety seats easier to install.

Nicole Nason who heads the NHTSA said Thursday that improving the use and safety is child car seats and the special anchors used to attach them to the vehicles is a combined effort – especially in light of new evidence which shows parents are often not sure of the best way to install the life-saving devices.

Nason spoke at the opening of a day-long summit with industry leaders and consumer advocates aimed at improving child car safety.

“Every day, five of our children are killed and another 640 are injured on our roads. Car seats, booster seats and other restraints are a proven way to keep our children safe and an inexpensive investment in their future,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino.

Right now, officials say installing car seats is a daunting task for parents. In December, Nason called for the summit after a new survey conducted by NHTSA found that many parents were unaware of either the existence or the importance of a new system of anchors built into newer vehicles, and specifically designed to hold and anchor car seats. The summit will focus on how to increase the correct use of these so-called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) systems, which come standard in vehicles made after 2002.

Nason said one of the key goals of the meeting is to make sure parents and caregivers have clear guidance on proper car seat and LATCH use, whether from the car seat manufacturer, vehicle owner’s manual or the retailer. In addition, NHTSA is looking into ways to improve its ease-of-use ratings, as well as mandatory child seat safety performance, she said.

Last month, Consumer Reports magazine published a study stating that most child car seats tested poorly in high speeds. But the magazine retracted that report after NHTSA officials pointed out the flaws in those tests.

I agree that using child car seats correctly can be a confusing process for parents. This has only been worsened by recent conflicting reports about how safe these car seats actually are.

That said, unfortunately there are times when even following recommendations and instructions is not enough to prevent injuries. Defective child car seats have lead to numerous injuries and deaths during traffic collisions. When a child’s car seat does not work properly, its ineffectiveness can cause additional injuries to children, or fail to protect them from serious harm. The manufacturers who produce the defective products need to be held liable for the injuries resulting from their dangerous car seats.

We hope the NHTSA succeeds in its endeavors to shine some light on these defective products. Until then you can count on us to hold the manufacturers who make these faulty products liable for their actions.

For more information and tips on how to install your car seats correctly, visit www.carseatsite.com.