A total of 14 new child seats were inspected as part of the second phase of tests this year conducted by the European Automobile Clubs and the consumer protection organisation Stiftung Warentest.
The ACL has participated actively in the tests carried out on the new models of child seats. Besides safety in the case of collision, the judgement criteria are based on their handling, ergonomics and the level of toxic substances with which the child might come into contact.
Of the 14 seats tested, seven were scored “good” and two were scored “satisfactory”. These seats largely exceed the legal requirements. The Hema Doorgroei and Cosatto Gug Isofix seats, despite their good results in the harmfulness tests, were scored “unsatisfactory” due to the poor results in the safety tests (front and side collision). Three seat models failed the tests: with Nuna Rebi, the metal framework broke during the collision test; with Recaro Optia**, the seat detached from the Isofix fixing component; with Diono Radian, handling was very complicated and required a lot of strength.
Before buying a child seat, parents should seek information on what’s on offer. This is why the comparative tests are important. Not all seats are suitable for all cars. As such, the ACL recommends that parents bring their children with them and take their car so they can test the installation of the seat before buying.
The seat should be able to be firmly anchored with the fasteners well secured so that the seat can’t move or slide around in the car. Check that it’s simple to put the child in the seat and that the harness can be easily adjusted and fastened.
For “Maxi Cosi” type shells, check that the safety belt is long enough to be able to secure the seat.
With booster seats with backs, the belt might sometimes stop winding automatically when the child is leaning forward. If this happens, it’s important to try another to find the seat type which best secures the child and which is suitable for the type of car.
After purchasing, familiarise yourself with the assembly of the seat. Above all, ensure that the belts are sufficiently taut so that neither the chair nor the child can move. In winter, large and padded jackets should be removed. The belts should be pressed closely against the child’s body. When your child grows, adjust the length of the straps to their size.
The detailed results of the tests are available for our members from the ACL upon request (tel.: +352 450045-1). A detailed datasheet of each seat is available to anyone interested.
Carte Blanche vum Dr Yves Wagner