Mr. Romolo Gazza
Strada della Cisa, 249/251
142040 Sorbolo Levante Brescello (RE)
Dear Mr. Gazza:
This responds to your inquiry to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), asking whether your ISOFIX platform plus CRS “can be approved to FMVSS 213 with or without the vehicle.” We understand your question to be in two parts: whether your child restraint system (CRS) alone would meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213; and whether your system would meet the requirements when installed in a vehicle (you specifically asked about a Ferrari F430). Based on the information you provided the agency and the analysis below, I’ve concluded that your CRS would not comply in either situation. This response will consider your questions in turn.
By way of background, NHTSA does not provide approvals of motor vehicles or motor vehicle equipment. The United States does not use a certification process such as that of the European Economic Community, in which a manufacturer of motor vehicle equipment is required to deliver the equipment to be certified to a governmental agency for testing and approval. Instead, in the United States, under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301 (the “Vehicle Safety Act),” it is your responsibility as a manufacturer to determine the requirements that apply and certify the compliance of your product with those requirements. NHTSA determines the compliance of products with the safety standards by examining and testing representative samples of some motor vehicles and equipment. When the products do not comply with the safety standards, the manufacturer must recall the product, or NHTSA may conduct an enforcement proceeding to ensure that that occurs. The following represents our opinion based on the information you provided with your letter. This interpretation might not discuss every requirement of the FMVSSs that might apply to your product. If we have not addressed an issue, you should not assume that we have concurred with a position you have expressed on that issue.
Would Your “ISOFIX CRS” Meet The Requirements of Standard No. 213?
Our answer is no. The informational materials you provided
describe your “universal CRS” as consisting of a variety of child seats and boosters
which may be secured to the vehicle either with an ISOFIX platform or with the
vehicle’s safety belts. S5.3.2 of
Standard No. 213 requires all add-on child restraint systems to be capable of meeting the requirements of the standard when installed by each of three different means. A CRS must be able to meet the requirements of the standard when secured solely by each of the following means, as applicable for the particular type of child restraint system: (1) a Type 1 seat belt assembly; (2) a Type 1 seat belt assembly plus a tether anchorage, if needed; and (3) a child restraint anchorage system, also known as LATCH, specified by FMVSS No. 225.
S5.9(a) of Standard No. 213 requires child restraint systems of the type you manufacture to have components permanently attached to the CRS that enable the CRS to be securely fastened to the lower anchorages of a LATCH system. It appears that your ISOFIX platform could be fastened to the lower anchorages of the LATCH system with the “insertion guides.” However the CRS design does not meet the requirements of Standard No. 213 because the child restraint has no permanently-attached components that enable it to be securely fastened to the lower anchorages of the LATCH system. The CRS is designed to attach to the ISOFIX platform, but the components needed to attach to the LATCH system are not permanently attached to the CRS. Because your CRS would not meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 213, the sale or importation of the CRS into this country would be prohibited by the Vehicle Safety Act.
Would Your CRS Installed as Described in a Ferrari F430 Meet The Requirements of Standard No. 213?
Your letter asked whether the requirements of Standard No. 213 would be met by an “ISOFIX CRS with CPOD,” which you said that Ferrari plans to offer in its U.S.-sold F430 vehicles. We believe that “CPOD” refers to a sensor system in the right-front passenger seat of the vehicle which is designed to restrict air bag deployment in the presence of a CRS. Our answer provided to your first question would not change, regardless if the CRS were sold together with a vehicle.
We note that new passenger cars are required to meet a comprehensive set of FMVSSs, including the advanced air bag requirements of FMVSS No. 208, “Occupant Crash Protection.” Those requirements provide manufacturers several compliance options in order to minimize the risk to infants and small children from deploying air bags, including an option to suppress an air bag in the presence of a CRS. NHTSA tests an air bag suppression system for compliance using the CRSs specified in Appendix A of the standard (S19, S21 and S23 of FMVSS No. 208). If you would like further information about FMVSS No. 208 requirements, please contact us.
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Rebecca Schade of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
Anthony M. Cooke
 “LATCH” is a term used by industry and retail groups referring to the child restraint anchorage system required by Standard No. 225 (defined in S3 of Standard No. 225). LATCH stands for “Lower Anchorages and Tethers for Children.” For convenience, we will use the term in this letter.
 Depicted on page 7 of your “Instructions for Use” booklet included among the materials you sent to the agency.