Monday, June 23, 2008
Child safety in cars: A wide gulf has developed between technology and legislation
Children up to four years of age would be better protected in cars if they traveled rearward-facing in a suitable child restraint, rather than forward-facing as is the usual practice in most of Europe. Suitable seats are widely used in the Nordic countries, but are not readily available in the rest of Europe. The law and the supply of seats, together with the information for parents, are in urgent need of revision. These are the conclusions of a study commissioned by ANEC looking at the lessons to be learned from accidents in the UK, US and
A small quote from section: 5 - Findings based on the UK fatal Accidents Data
5.1 Forward Facing child seats
....In six of the eight accidents the research team judged that the child would have survived had they been seated in a suitable rearward facing car seat. The agees of these children ranged from five and three-quarter months to just under four years old. In the remaining two cases the protection offered by a rearward facing seat would have been compromised by additional loading from luggage in the boot area and gross roof intrusion into the seating position. The children in these accidents were aged seven months and one and a half years old.
The organization wants to make rear-facing car seats available in all of Europe and says that children should stay rear-facing up till four years.
The picture to the left shows a four year old girl(110 cm & 18 kg) rear facing in a Britax Two Way Elite and a three year old boy(93 cm & 13 kg) rear facing in a Akta Graco Duologic seat. They sit in the back of a VW Golf st.
ANEC, the European Association for the Co-ordination of Consumer Representation in Standardization (known informally as 'the European consumer voice in standardization'), is an organization promoting and defending consumer interests in the processes of standardization and certification and in legislation related to standardization and certification.
ANEC provides technical expertise and advice drawn from a network of more than 200 consumer representatives across Europe. The organization's experts contribute directly to the work of more than 80 technical committees and working groups of the European Standards Organizations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI.
For those of you who wants to learn more, look at real crash test data and more:
The main findings from the ANEC study
The enitre study
Posted by Mari at 11:07 PM
Thursday, May 8, 2008
First a quote from car-safety.org:
The LATCH system was originally called ISOFIX, a term still used in Europe. In Canada, it is the Lower Universal Anchorage System (LUAS) or CANFIX. It has also been called the Universal Child Safety Seat System or UCSSS. Some carseat companies have trade names for this system, for example, Britax uses the term "ISOFIT™". All of these names refer to the same universal anchorages that appear on a few model year 2000 vehicles and even more model year 2001 and 2002 vehicles. These are required by law in the USA for almost all model year 2003 and later vehicles. With the exception of the Volkswagen Passat and many Audi models since 1999, lower LATCH anchors cannot be retrofitted onto earlier model vehicles.
Isofix stands for International Standards Organisation FIX.
Isofix is a system specially made for fastening children's car seats(intallation without the car seatbelt). The car seat has two pairs of "claws" that can be attached on to to anchor points behind the seat of the car(usually found in the back seat). It is supposed to be an easier way to install the car seat and to reduce the risk of installing the car seat wrong.
The anchor points are most often found in the cars back seat on the right and the left side.
The illustration below is of the European isofix system:
If the car seat is correctly installed using the cars seat belt their is no difference in the safety between a car seat installed with isofix and a car seat fastend with seat belts. But as mentioned earlier the risk of installing the car seat wrong is reduced when the seat is fastened with isofix. If one has a booster with isofix it is also safer when driving the car without the kids, beacause many parents drive around with boosters lose in their car when the kids don't sit in them. When the seat is installed using isofix one don't have to remember to fastend the seat every time one goes for a ride without the kids. Remember that a lose car seat can cause great damage in a accident, it will come flying trough the air like a projectile.
From 2007 isofix should be standard on new cars in Europe. Some car manufactures have had the isofix system in their cars years already, the first car with isofix came in 1997. Here is a list over cars with isofix(produced before 2007).
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Do you ever wonder what your child is doing in the backseat? Or do you have trouble with a Houdini that makes way out of the car seat belts?
The picture above: Mom and dad can see what happens in the backseat while the little boy sits safely rear-facing in the backseat. The picture is taken in a VW Caravelle.
Mirror - If you worry about what's going on in the backseat there are special mirrors that can be fastened on the headrest in the backseat so that you can see your child. The mirror called Easy-View is collision tested.
Belt clips - Many parents struggel with kids who in one way or another gets out of the car seat belt. A belt clip prevents the child from taking of the seat belt and it also locks the belt in the right position.
Soft toys - One can buy soft toys that is special made for children who sits rear-facing. Regardless of what way the child sits it is important to use soft toys, even a teddy bear can cause damage in a car accident. Things that lies loose in the car will double their weight many times when they come flying through the air in a collision. An example in this article HERE.
Backseat cover - If you are afraid of getting dirt on the backseat of the car it is possible to buy a cover that goes from the back of the seat and over the seat cushion.
Sunshade - To protect the child against the sun it is possible to buy sunshades which is made for the car seat.
Posted by Mari at 11:36 PM
Sunday, March 30, 2008
According to Trygg Trafikk
it is of greater importance that the child sits rear-facing than where the car seat is placed in the car, but the middle seat in the back is supposed to be the safest place to sit.
Swedish Folksäm says:
- Where is it best to place the child's car seat? If the airbag is turned of or disconnected it is several advantages to have the child in the front seat from a collision security point of view. Collision test shows a slight advantage in frontal collisions if the child sits in a rear facing seat that is leaned onto the dashboard, compared to a rear facing car seat positioned in the cars backseat leaned against the front seat. In a side collision the child is safer in the middle seat in the back of the car. The advantages from having the child in the front passanger seat is several... Read more about that HERE.
The safest place in the car to install the car seat?
Which place is reckoned to be the safest one for the car seat?
Which place is safest is impossible to say before the accident has occurred. To install the car seat in the passenger seat leaned against the dash board gives a firm ***** to lean the car seat against. The dashboard is stronger than for example the back of the front seats.
The driver has more direct contact with the child if the child is placed in the front passenger seat. If you place the child rear facing in the back seat you cannot directly see what happens to your child if it suddenly screams, coughs or does something else that many parents would react to. If you have the child next to you in the passenger seat you can take one quick look at the child to see what has happened.
To bend down to pick up things during the car trip most people know is dangerous. Still some people do so. To prevent this things like passifierholder that can be fastened to the child cloths is invented. Read more HERE.
When placing a car seat in the front passenger seat: If one has got a very uneasy child it could be an idea to place the child in the front passenger seat, the child could be calmer if it sees mom or dad and the driver can keep focus on the traffic and driving the car. Make sure that the airbag is turned off! If one places a child in a rear facing car seat in front of an active airbag it could potentially be lethal and it is illegal by law!
Is the airbag disconnected?
If the airbag is disconnected in a brand approved garage or turned of with a key(not just any key but a key especially made for the cars airbag) it should be safe. If one uses the key to turn off the airbag one must make sure that the airbag is turned off every time one seats the child in the front passenger seat. The most dangerous thing about disconnecting the airbag with the key is human error. One some cars it is possible to get the airbag on the passenger side totaly removed.
Posted by Mari at 12:52 AM
Monday, January 7, 2008
Test winner - not always the safest alternative.
The Swedish NTF(The national association for trafic security) has a article on their website on how to interpret testresults. It is important to read the car seats tests thourougly, the test winner seat doesn't necessary have to be the safest alternative.
The article says(amongst other things) something that is important to remember: No matter which place the rear facing car seat has got in the test it is still better than the forward facing car seats. The tests doesn't take into account that it is recommended to have the kids rear facing for as long as possible. The article, link HERE.
In May 2007 a test was published, that test have been much noted. The results could be read in VG(and other magazines) and there was a report on the tv-show God Morgen Norge on TV 2. There is a number of points of weakness in this test, one of many is that seats in different weightclassses was tested against each other.
Akta Graco's seat Duologic only got three points under the criteria userfriendliness, that counts for 50% of the overall total score, this contributed to the average score that this seat got on this test. Under the criteria safety Duologic got the highest acchivable score(5 points) in front collision. While the seat HTS BeSafe iZi Comfort X1 only got 3.5 points in front collision, still this seat ended up with a higher total score than the DuoLogic seat. It is important to know that a front collision is the most powerful collision that one can experience,that is why it is important to have a seat that is as secure at possible in a front collision. Akta's seat did beat HTS's seat on several categories under the safety criteria.
After this test was published Trygg Trafikk recommended the consumers to read the entire test and to look away from the eyes given on the dices in this test.
In Sweden the Säkerhetsbutiken also has an article consering this test.
A recommendation: Read the test thoroughly and think about which criteria that is of more importance. Is it more important that the seat should be easy as possible to install or is it more important that it is the seat that is safest for your child?
Posted by Mari at 2:19 PM