Child Car Seats: Regulation, Demand, and Appeal Drive Latest Trends

By Joel Arellano | August 03, 2012
Baby seats are not the stuff of the car enthusiast lifestyle, which focuses on vehicles like the all-new Cadillac ATS, Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Black Series, or a Mazda MX-5 Miata equipped with a V-8. But add a bundle of joy (or three) into said enthusiast's life, and a vehicle's LATCH—Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children—system suddenly becomes as important as horsepower, torque, and zero-to-60 figures in vehicle selection. Angela Osterhuber, director for the Pennsylvania Traffic Injury Prevention Project, recently studied trends in child seat safety. Dual angle indicators are being added by child seat manufactures Combi and Dorel so parents can angle the seat to prevent the child's head from flopping forward improperly. Clek's reducing injuries to children in a crash thanks to the Rapid Energy Absorbing Crumple Technology, or REACT, in its seats. Britax has something similar with its SafeCell technology,though it reduces head injuries by lowering the child's center of gravity. But the biggest change is regulation. Earlier this year, we posted how child seat manufacturers will have to start notifying consumers not to use the lower anchors in the seats starting in 2014. They cannot guarantee the anchors will be effective in the event of an accident. The issue stems from the increased weight of today's children and child car seats. LATCH regulations went into effect in 2001 where both seats and children weighed less. Child seat manufacturers are keenly interested in new testing procedures which go into effect in 2014
Source: Christian Science Monitor