Improved Child Safety Seat
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Child safety seats provide protection and have been observed to reduce death and injury rates by more than 70%. Studies have observed that only 10% to 20% of children are correctly harnessed into correctly installed seats. One of the most common errors involves the installation of the child safety seat in the vehicle. The new Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is designed to make installation of child safety seats easier by providing two lower anchors onto which a child seat is attached. A flexible LATCH seat anchor strap must be aggressively tensioned (greater than 30 lbs. typically) to achieve proper installation. The most common error associated with LATCH installations has been observed to be a loose lower anchor strap, which was observed in 30% of installations. Loose seat anchor straps increase the relative movement between the child safety seat and the vehicle in a crash thereby reducing the effectiveness of the seat at controlling the child's deceleration and increasing the impact of the child, in particular of the head, with the vehicle interior, seat, or harness. This project will develop an inexpensive device to ensure that child safety seat anchor straps are properly tensioned. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The societal benefit of the proposed device is that, if successful, it will inexpensively and easily improve the safety of all LATCH system child safety seats by reducing the prevalence of anchor strap under tensioning. The population of interest for this device is virtually all child safety seat installers/users, which includes parents, grandparents, and child care providers. The available market for the proposed device exceeds 4 million units annually in the U.S. alone. There are approximately 20 million children under 5 years of age in the U. S. By law, children in this age group must be restrained in a child safety seat. The proposed device provides benefit in nearly all of these seat installations.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.