Overweight Children are NOT Adequately Protected in Car Seats

For the past ten years, the news media has consistently focused our attention on the fact that obesity is on the rise; that it has become a major problem in the United States, and that childhood obesity, in particular, has put young children at-risk for a multitude of health-related issues.

One surprising health-related issue stems from the fact that many infants and toddlers are being transported in car seats that are not safe for them to be riding in, and I am not referring to the improper installation of those seats. The problem I AM referring to is the fact that when car seats are crash-tested, the crash-dummies that are used to simulate the effects of an accident impact do not reflect the overweight child population being transported.

With so many young obese children today, common sense should dictate that the crash-dummy’s weight and dimensions more closely match that of the children using the car seats being tested.

In an article on the ThirdAge.Com website, March 29, 2011, under Boomer Health and Lifestyle, Katherine Rausch highlights a problem that although acknowledged for some time, has been awaiting a solution since 2004, but researchers have not come up with a product. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is using smaller adult version dummies for child crash-testing. Why? According to a recent article in the Washington Post, it’s because crash test dummies are expensive to develop and funding is not readily available to develop larger “life-like” child test dummies. This leaves child safety seat manufacturers self-regulating their own products. It also means that seats made just a few years ago to hold 65lb children are now marketed for those up to 85lbs.

It appears that heavier-weight crash-dummies have been in development for adults for decades now. Why haven’t overweight children been given the same attention?

With so many recent news reports about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ and NHTSA’s “new safety seat guidelines”, are we deluding ourselves into thinking our kids are safe?

About the Author

I am a former New Yorker, a new resident of Georgia, and I have three daughters, four stepsons, and six grandchildren. I’ve had a career as a musician/entertainer and educator, and have now focused my attention on this cause, which I find to be of utmost value to moms, dads, and other caregivers of children. It feels good to be able to contribute to keeping kids healthy and safe.


3 Responses to “Overweight Children are NOT Adequately Protected in Car Seats”

  1. Convertible Car Seat Review says:

    It would be interesting to know what the accident numbers are for overweight children who have died or been seriously injured in a car accident, and if the government is actually aware of this. Maybe thats what needs to happen to get the car seats properly regulated.

    • Stefanie Zucker sazucker says:

      From what I understand (and please don’t take this as fact since this is 3rd party information), the car seat mfrs and the government ARE aware of the problem. It’s the cost of new crash-test dummies, and the cost to run the crash tests that are holding this up. And I agree – it’s going to take data to force a change. Thanks for the comment!


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