This recommended practice will promote a temperature and duration guideline that mitigates the risk of thermal injuries to the heated seat user. In addition, recommendations are established to indicate to the user when the heater is operating, and warnings that should be included in the vehicle literature.
SAE has received a request from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), stating in part: “Recently, (NHTSA) received information alleging injury or potential injury with regards to seat heaters in automobiles… we would like to urge SAE International to establish a committee whose stated purpose is to develop an industry standard with regard to the safe operation of these customer convenience devices. NHTSA believes that an industry recommended standard could efficiently identify those practices that should be standardized across the automotive industry with regard to seat heaters. Items suggested to us include: maximum operating temperature, an indicator to assure its visibility, and an auto-shut off feature. We believe a validated SAE standard could provide guidance to automotive design engineers and help mitigate the potential for incidents attributed to seat heaters.” In light of the above request, SAE has established the following recommended practice for automotive seat heaters.