Child restraint seats are the most reliable system to protect minors in a collision. However, they must meet a series of minimum requirements that are not always sufficient to guarantee the best safety for the little ones.
So that a child restraint chair reaches the market must meet a series of minimum quality controls and certifications established in a series of European standards that guarantee that the chair complies with the minimum security guarantees.
However, a European consortium made up of consumer organizations from the ICRT (International Center for Testing and Research) and car clubs (such as RACE), carries out a series of independent tests that raise the bar for those demands to adapt them to variables such as the growth of the child during the life of the chair.
This consortium has just published the conclusions obtained from these security tests in the second report of 2021, where the results of the tests carried out on 27 models of child restraint seats present in the market.
The main conclusion of that report is do not recommend the purchase of the 5 models that have obtained the worst score. Of those five models, four scored two stars out of five possible and one of the chairs scored only one star.
The report highlights that, although none of the analyzed models got the five stars, the results are satisfactory since fourteen of them obtained 4 stars and eight took three stars.
These tests take into account factors such as the use of ISOFIX fixing systems or what results were obtained in sections such as safety, handling, ergonomics and presence of toxic substances in manufacturing materials.
Avoid convertible child restraints
The report reveals a common pattern across all models that have scored less than two stars in safety tests: 4 of them are convertible restraint chairs. That is, those models that transform their morphology to adapt to the growth of the child and can be used from birth to 12 years.
Antonio Lucas, Director of Mobility and Road Safety at RACE, explains that to test these chairs, mannequins of different sizes and weights are used that simulate the growth of the child and the final reference result is the but that has been obtained in each of the 20 tests carried out in each age group.
In his opinion, retention systems that obtain better results are those specifically designed for specific age groups.
When choosing a child restraint seat, it is recommended to seek the most demanding approval possible for guarantee maximum security and discourages the use of second-hand restraint chairs that could have hidden damage.
Child restraint seats you should avoid
These are the five child restraint seats that they advise against due to their poor results in safety tests:
Lettas Murphy (916)
It obtained only two stars in the security tests, getting bad ratings in 3 of the 4 parameters that are taken into account.
In a frontal collision, the shoulder belt displaced from the mannequin’s neck and made a deep cut. In side impact tests, the mannequin’s head collided with the car door.
Three LX from Nuna
It got two stars as an overall rating for poor performance in both safety and use.
In the frontal crash tests they subjected to this child seat, the belt caused a cut in the neck of the manikin, while in the side impact tests, the results were more satisfactory, keeping the manikin in a safe position.
Chicco Seat4Fix and Seat4Fix Air
Both models got a two-star rating with a poor rating for safety and usability.
Installed in a reverse position, in the frontal collision, the buckle fixation came out of the structure projecting them forward, so that the minor traveling in them could hit their head against the front seat.
Osann Oreo 360 II
It is the child restraint seat that has obtained the lowest score in the safety tests with only one star because its components contain harmful substances.
The cover of this child restraint seat does not comply with the regulations on toxic substances. The covering that is in contact with the minor contains a type of phthalate (plastic) that can affect the thyroid gland and the pituitary of the users.