April 25, 2002
NHTSA?s Proposal on Child Restraints Represents a Step Forward but Agency Should Require Built-In Child Restraints
Statement by Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?s announcement today that it will begin rulemaking to upgrade the safety of child restraint systems in motor vehicles represents a significant step forward. Currently, booster seats for children over 50 pounds are not regulated at all. These proposed rules will improve safety for millions of children up to age 8, who are now at serious risk of injury and death.
However, for the future what is really needed are child safety systems built into all new cars. As NHTSA develops this rule, it should test the few integrated systems offered as optional equipment versus booster seats so the public knows which is safest. The best systems have a five-point belt, which children need. Car manufacturers acknowledge that this is the safest system of all, and there is no reason why our children should continue to be left vulnerable to tragic injuries.
Public Citizen released a study of child restraint systems earlier this week. To read the report, click here.