Car Seat Testing – The Truth About Car Seat Crash Tests

Car Seat Safety & Car Seat TestingWhen it comes to choosing a car seat for your little one there’s no doubt that car seat safety and car seat testing is on your mind. So how do you find out which car seat is the safest? This is where it gets a little confusing, so let me explain.

First of all, let me quickly explain who the key players are. The NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is responsible for car seat testing, and the Federal Government regulates them.

We know that all car seats sold in the United States undergo the same car seat testing crash standard, but what we don’t know is how each individual car seat rated during those tests. Unfortunately, the manufacturers are not required to release that information, and NHTSA doesn’t either. ¬†All we know is that if a car seat is currently for sale in the U.S., then it has passed the test.

What is the standard for Federal Car Seat Testing?

Car Seat Testing - Sled TestThe current standard for car seat testing in the U.S. is a 30 mph sled test. In other words, the car seat is placed on a bench seat, on a sled, and crashed at 30 mph.

These car seat testing standards are only designed to check for durability, and effectiveness at keeping your child in the vehicle when involved in a front-collision. The Federal Government does not offer side-impact car seat testing. This brings me to the next question.

Why do some car seats say that they’re “Side-Impact Tested”?

Graco Safe Seat Engineered - Car Seat TestingBecause the Government is lacking in the car seat testing department, manufacturer’s themselves have decided to perform crash testing on their own designs.

So basically, when you see “Side-Impact Tested”, that means that the manufacturer themselves have tested the car seat. Once again, we still have no idea what that really means. So the car seat was side-impact tested, how did it do? Are we to assume that because it was tested, it performed well? How can we trust them, how do we know that they’re not just trying to sell their car seat?

Personally, I applaud many of these manufacturers for taking car seat testing and car seat safety into their own hands, but I’m also very careful of who’s word I choose to trust. I want proof, and Britax is one of those manufacturers that offers proof. They not only perform extensive car seat testing, but they also provide video proof on their website, as well as on YouTube.

As a parent myself, these types of car seat safety measures go a long way when it comes to reassurance. Currently, the NHTSA is working on designing a Federal regulated side-impact crash car seat test, but until they do, we have to take what we can get.

Check out this Car Seat Safety video by Britax

 Britax Side Impact Protection Explained

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