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April 05, 2016 3 min read

European car seat safety tests

The law

In New Zealand, a child restraint (car seat) must meet either the US, the Australia/NZ, or the European safety standard. You can read more about that here.

What we sell

At Global Baby we specilaise in European car seats. The thing that we like about the European seats is that they have been independently tested by European consumer organisations, with the results published for all to see. We appreciate the transparency and the recommendations help us firstly when we are selecting seats to sell, and secondly when we are making recommendations to parents.

Explaining the tests

ECE 44/04

All these tests are undertaken with dummies that represent the weight category of the child approved for the correct weight group of seat

Frontal impact 50km/h (about 30 miles)
Rear collisions 30km/h (about 18 miles)
540 degree rotation of the seat, stopping with the seat upside down
Buckle and unbuckle the harness approximately 5,000 times

After all these tests it must be possible to unbuckle the harness.

European consumer tests

The consumer tests are carried out by organisations similar to our Consumer Magazine. The consumer tests are more stringent than ECE R44, with crashes at higher speeds, and scores given for ease of use, and comfort for the child.

The ADAC is an organization representing the interests of car owners in Germany which organizes tests of child car seats. The tests conducted are approx. 50% more stringent or stipulate stricter requirements than the ECE R4404 standards.

Front crash test is carried out at a higher speed than ECE R44 - about 40mph (64km) instead of 30mph (50km)
Includes a side impact crash test, which ECE R44 does not require
Car seats tested in a real car body, not on a sledge with a car bench seat fixed to it, so the position of the seat belt anchorage points and car seat characteristics are more realistic
Scores are also given for ease of installation, comfort and field of vision for the child, pollutants, and how clear the instruction manual is.

European consumer organizations are members of ICRT and do publish their own test report. However, these reports are copies of the Stiftung Warentest and ADAC Tests, but published in another layout. As example, WHICH in the UK.

Stiftung Warentest
Stiftung Warentest is the consumer council in Germany. It administers and conducts tests on behalf of the International Consumer Research and Testing organisation, ICRT. Stiftung Warentest conducts its own tests in collaboration with the ADAC. These tests are conducted using frontal collisions at a speed of 64 km per hour and side collisions, while ECE R44 only tests frontal and rear collisions.

How to buy the tests?

Just like our own Consumer Magazine, the results aren't given away for free. A recent change to the German tax rules means that Stiftung Warentest results can only be purchased by people inside Germany, using a German credit card. We recommend Which? a UK consumer group, we find that the results are easier to purchase, because the website is in English, and obviously it helps that the report is in English too.

The results shouldn't be taken too literally, the best car seat for you is the one that fits in your car and fits your child, and the needs of your family.

Seats we sell that have performed well

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