A new crash test dummy has been introduced by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to improve the safety of child restraint systems.

Known as the Q3s, the new crash test dummy represents a three-year-old child and is the first child side impact dummy in federal regulations.

It has been specifically designed for testing child seats in side impact crash tests and will provide more realistic data about the effect side impact crashes have on children.

NHTSA is also proposing numerous upgrades to federal standard for frontal impact tests for child restraint systems to make testing more representative of real-world child seat use in modern vehicles, including proposing to require that labels on child seats encourage that young children remain in rear-facing child seats until they outgrow the rear-facing height and weight limits of the seat.

“Every child’s life is precious, and the Department’s work will save young lives,” said US Transportation Secretary Elaine L Chao.