Child Car Seat Crash Tests


Child Safety Restraints Systems (i.e., car seats), also referred to as CRS, are seats designed specifically to protect children from injury or death during collisions. There are several different types in the market from infant to convertible and booster. Which one should be utilized depends on the age and size of the child. Calspan has the expertise and equipment to execute the tests required to demonstrate these products’ compliance with government standards.


The 12-Inch HYGE system is designed to simulate the effects of a collision in an acceleration rather than deceleration mode. The standard 12-inch HYGE has 225,000 pounds (1 M newton) of thrust and a maximum payload of 5,000 lb. (2,268 kg). The HYGE’s design provides extremely repeatable and reproducible acceleration pulses, enabling accurate simulation and modeling of crash conditions in non-destructive fashion. A given pulse can be accurately produced on any 12-Inch HYGE system, facilitating component suppliers and OEM manufactures to share testing programs and data interchangeably. The HYGE system has proven its repeatability/reliability over time. Systems over 40 years old routinely demonstrate repeatability of better than +/- 2%.


CRSs must comply with the standards for the markets in which they are sold. To assist CRS manufacturers with product development, refinement, and certification to meet a standard, Calspan has the expertise and equipment to execute the following child car seat crash tests:

  • Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 (FMVSS 213). This U.S. standard requires CRSs to pass a 30-mph frontal sled test, which simulates a crash. This standard applies to passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, buses and aircraft.
  • Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213 (CMVSS 213). This Canadian standard is very similar to the U.S. standard. One of the differences is that the CMVSS 213 has a requirement for compression/deflection, which affects the energy management in terms of force on the head.
  • European Test Standard for Child Restraints ECE R 44. This European Standard requires all CSRs be certified and have an ECE R44/04 certification label to indicate they comply with standard safety requirements.
  • NHTSA Side Impact. In this test, which simulates a side-impact vehicle crash, CRSs must demonstrate they can safely restrain a child by preventing harmful head contact with an intruding vehicle door and reduce the crash forces transmitted to the child’s head and chest. This includes using the Q3S crash test dummy.