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Child Car Seat Fails Crash Testing

By raccars Published

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Owners of the Babystart multi recliner have been advised to replace it with an alternative child car seat by the Which? consumer group. Which? claims the seat could be dangerous after it failed independent safety tests conducted by the group.

The Babystart multi reclining model was available online and in Argos for £35. As a result of the test results, the seat is no longer being produced and has been withdrawn from sale everywhere except Argos, which claims that it is happy to sell out its remaining stock, as the seat complies with European safety regulations. The seat is also available on selling sites such as Ebay and Gumtree, but Which? advises parents against buying any child car seat second hand.

The Which? testing process saw some components of the seat fall apart - this could prove fatal in a real life crash situation, as children travelling in the seat could crash into the front passenger seat. Owners of the seat have been urged to buy a replacement by Which?. The safety tests conducted by the consumer group work on stricter criteria than those usually used to determine European safety regulations and encompass a slide test plus a high speed head on crash.

The official EU testing process has deemed the seat suitable for infants from birth to a weight of 18kg and gave it the pass rating ECE R44/04. However, the Which? testing process returned the lowest ever score by the consumer group. The Babystart multi recline seat scored 0% in the most stringent tests, which exceed the limits set by existing UK and EU standards.

Head on tests conducted at 40mph rather than the standard 30mph saw some parts of the seat break off. Facing forward in a head on crash, the seat's plastic frame disintegrated and the safety harness detached at the shoulder. In a real life crash situation, this would leave a child restrained only by the lap belt and colliding with the back of the front passenger seat. The seat did manage to score 33% when positioned facing the rear. The tests are conducted in an actual car rather than a simulator, in the form of a car seat attached to a sledge for a more realistic result.

Which? carried out its testing at a laboratory in Germany, part of the ADAC car club. The laboratory is known for making significant contributions to child car seat safety improvements in the last ten years.

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