The Evolution of FMVSS 213: Child Restraint Systems 2005-01-1840
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 specifies requirements for child restraint systems used in motor vehicles and was first introduced by the National Highway Safety Bureau in 1971. In 1981, the standard was modified to require dynamic testing of child restraints. Over the following 21 years, Standard No.
213 was modified on numerous occasions, most recently in June of 2003. This paper outlines the history of Standard No. 213 with a discussion of the changes that have been proposed, the comments submitted to NHTSA in response to these proposed changes, and NHTSA's final decision (rule making) regarding which changes to adopt. Detailed discussion is included regarding NHTSA's May 2002 proposal to change the crash pulse, test dummies, injury criteria, and test bench required as part of the dynamic testing. The 2002 proposal also included expansion of the standard to cover child restraints for children weighing up to 65 pounds. Before issuing a final rule, NHTSA reviewed numerous comments from industry, academia, professional societies, special interest groups, and private citizens. In addition, both NHTSA and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association conducted extensive test programs to evaluate NHTSA's proposed changes to Standard No. 213. In June 2003, NHTSA issued a final rule that adopted the revised crash pulse, test dummies, and test bench. The final rule also adopted the proposal to cover child restraints for children weighing up to 65 pounds. However, the standard did not adopt the proposed modifications to the injury criteria, with the exception of a modification to the way that the head injury criterion (HIC) is calculated. This paper discusses the reasons that NHTSA adopted the modifications to the crash pulse, test dummies, and test bench, yet did not adopt the revised injury criteria.