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NHTSA ANNOUNCES NEW COMPUTER DATABASE COMPATIBILITY OF CHILD SAFETYSHOWING SEATS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

NHTSA ANNOUNCES NEW COMPUTER DATABASE COMPATIBILITY OF CHILD SAFETYSHOWING SEATS

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
January 31, 1997

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 31, 1997
NHTSA 7-97
Contact:  Tim Hurd
Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

The click of safety restraints for children is taking on a new sound in Atlanta where highway safety experts are gathering for National Child Passenger Safety Week. It s the click of a new CD-ROM computer database for parents and care givers to determine whether a particular child safety seat will fit into a particular make and model of vehicle.

This is part of our comprehensive plan to share vital information directly with the public on correct child safety seat use and positioning. It is especially important because surveys show up to 8 out of 10 safety seats are not being used properly, said Philip R. Recht, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The computer database program is being launched with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) as part of its Adopt-a-Dealer program announced in Washington, D.C., last month with the Emergency Nurses Association.

Consumers will be able to walk onto a showroom floor and within minutes be able to determine the appropriateness of a particular child safety seat in a specific vehicle. NADA has a serious commitment to public safety, said John P. Peterson, president of the NADA.

According to NHTSA, the database contains specifications for child seats manufactured since 1989 and a limited number of passenger vehicles manufactured in 1995, 1996 and some 1997 models. Additional models will be added in the near future.

The database is menu driven and intended to be user friendly. Users will be alerted to potential problems or dangers, such as the need for special hardware to properly install the child seat. The database also warns of the dangers of installing a rear-facing infant seat on the front seat of a vehicle equipped with a passenger side air bag. Additionally, information such as child seat recalls will also be available.

Although initially available to auto dealers, the CD-ROM will eventually be distributed to public libraries and to retail outlets that market child safety seats.

The program will be announced on Feb. 1 at NADA s 1997 Convention and Equipment Exposition at the Georgia World Congress Center. The announcement is timed to coincide with National Child Passenger Safety Week, Feb. 9-15. The annual observance traditionally includes the support of the law enforcement community. Officers will be looking for violations of child safety seat laws during special traffic enforcement operations.



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