The Good Egg Car Safety Blog

Booster cushions - Are they safe?

Mythbuster:  Booster cushions do not offer side impact protection – Fact or Myth?

 

FACT!


Booster cushions are unable to offer any side impact protection to children.

 

Why don't they offer side impact protection?


The current child seat approval standard, Regulation 44 (R44) does not include side impact testing.  This means that seats can be sold that do not offer any side impact protection to children.  Car seats undergo many component safety tests, and the crash test consists of one frontal impact at 32mph, a rear impact at 18mph, and a roll over test.*

There are additional crash tests that seats may undergo, such as the ADAC test, WHICH and the German Stiftung Warentest.  These all test to 40mph frontal impact, and they do include a side impact test. Booster cushions do not pass the side impact test.

Side impact testing has become mandatory under the new child seat approval standard R129 iSize.  R129 iSize began in 2013, and will not be fully implemented until 2018.  Both R44 and R129 approvals are running alongside each other, and will do some for some time after 2018.

*please note, R44.01 and R44.02 approved seats are illegal to use.  Only seats that carry a R44.03, R44.04 or R129 label are legal.

 

Why don’t booster cushions pass a side impact test?


Booster cushions are a belt positioning device, they are simply designed to lift your child up enough so that the adult seat belt restrains them correctly.  They do not offer any additional protection.

They don’t pass a side impact test because they do not have a back and side wings to cushion a child from the force of a collision, and they do not place a child near the vehicles side impact protection – children do not benefit from the vehicle’s side and curtain airbags.

Side Impact Test - Booster Cushion v High Back Booster

 

Why is side impact protection so important to have in your child's car seat?


Side impacts account for 1 in 4 collisions, and they account for 20% of all child road traffic collision fatalities.  When you also take into account that a vehicle's side impact protection is designed for adults, and not children, the best way to protect them is with a seat that has passed side impact testing.

Children do not benefit from a vehicle's side impact protection system, so no matter how much tech your car has, a highly tested car seat is essential.

 

Do Good Egg Safety recommend booster cushions?


No, we do not recommend booster cushions.  They do not offer the same protection for children as high back boosters.  We encourage parents and carers to use high back boosters when their children have outgrown their group 1, or group 1,2 harnessed car seats.

 

What about for short trips/friends' cars/emergencies?


A collision can happen at any time, and it doesn’t make allowances for your child being in a friend’s car, or it being a short trip.  Your child should use the correct seat for their weight and height on every journey.  However, as an absolute last resort, a booster cushion is better than nothing at all.  If your child is going to use a cushion, they must be the correct weight and height for it.

 

Any other concerns?


Booster cushions are very open to misuse, and as they often don’t route the chest belt comfortably for children, they are more likely to put the belt under their arm or behind them.  This is extremely dangerous and puts a child at significantly increased risk of serious injury, or worse.



wrong booster OL

 

Another problem with booster cushions is the lack of torso support, children are far more likely to lean out of the seat belt when they fall asleep, hugely reducing their protection in a collision.

 

Why are booster cushions allowed to be sold?


Booster cushions are allowed to be sold because they pass the R44 test.  They allow the adult seat belt to hold the child in place during a frontal collision - they do not have to go through a side impact test.

 

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Group 1,2 rear facing car seats

 

What is a group 1, 2 extended rear facing car seat?


A group 1, 2 car seat is a combination group seat which can accommodate a child from 9kg through to 25kg.  They are called extended rear facing as they typically keep children rear facing to 25kg, around 6 years old.  This stage seat can be used after the group 0+ infant seat has been outgrown, it is an alternative option to forward facing group 1 car seats.

The seat is normally outgrown when the child’s eyes are level with the top of the car seat, although it is important to check the manual for the seat.

Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.

 

Extended rear facing BeSafe iZi Plus, which has a 0 - 25kg weight limit, approx 6 months to 6 years.

Why would you keep a child rear facing after the infant seat?


Traditionally, children in the UK are moved up to a forward facing seat once they hit 20lbs or 9kg, yet they are much safer travelling rear facing. In Sweden, children have travelled rear facing until they are 4 years old since the 1960’s, and they have extremely low numbers of children getting killed or injured in road traffic collisions.

Rear facing car seats after the infant seat allow children to be better protected from the forces of a collision.

In an impact, a forward facing child is restrained by the 5 point harness or impact shield.  The harness or shield stops their body travelling forward when the vehicle crashes, restraining them in their child seat. However, their head is not restrained and continues travelling forward.  A young child’s head is 25% of his or her body weight, and in a collision this puts large amounts of force and pressure on their fragile neck and spine.

 

A 9kg child in a forward facing car seat.  Although this is legal, it is not as safe as rear facing.

 

When a child is rear facing, they are pushed back into their child seat, which keeps their head, neck and spine aligned.  This greatly reduces the force their body is subject to, as it is spread through the back of the child seat.

 

Elena Car Seats 022

 

Extended rear facing child seats also carry other benefits, such as view, comfort and a reduction in driver distraction.

 

The view


Many parents and carers are concerned a child will have an obstructed view when travelling in an extended rear facing car seat.  This is understandable, as we are so used to seeing babies in little infant seats facing the vehicle seat.  However extended rear facing seats are higher up and set further back than infant seats, giving a child a fantastic view out of the back and side windows.

 

charlie-view

 

Comfort


Rear facing car seats offer just as much comfort as forward facing car seats, and have all the same features such as great recline options, head support and softly padded covers.  They offer the same comfort and support for younger babies, and for older children, rear facing car seats can be more comfortable as their legs are fully supported, rather than hanging off the end of the seat.  Many extended rear facing car seats leave a gap for leg room.



three asleep

 

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Driver distraction


This is an important safety benefit of rear facing car seats, in that they can reduce driver distraction.  A recent study has shown that children are up to 12 TIMES more distracting in a car than a mobile phone!  The study found that on the average 16 minute journey with kids in the car, drivers took their eyes off the road for a total of 3 minutes.  A rear facing child presents less of a distraction, and a rear facing mirror can help you check that they are OK (when it’s safe to do so, of course!)

 

Are forward facing car seats dangerous?


No, forward facing car seats don’t put children in danger – they have hugely reduced the number of children who are killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions in the UK.  However, they are not as safe as rear facing car seats, due to the physics involved in a collision.  It is important to rear face your child for as long as possible, at least until the maximum weight and height limit of their group 0+ car seat – this is when they weigh 13kg, or when the top of their head is level with the top of the seat, approximately 12-18 months.  If your child is outgrowing their infant seat by height, but has not yet reached 13kg, a group 0+1 combination seat can be a good option to allow you to continue the benefits of rear facing.

 

R129 i-Size


R129 is the newest legislation for child seats, and it is different from standard R44 seats in several ways:

1)    The crash dummy has been updated – the crash dummy can now measure more points of force on a child’s body than the dummy used in R44 testing.  This now includes being able to measure neck loading, which R44 dummies cannot do.  This data has shown that a child who weighs 9kg and is 9 months old is not protected in a forward facing seat, and that they are far safer rear facing.

2)    Children must rear face to 15 months by law in an i-Size car seat – this will eventually apply across all seats.  Even if you don’t have an i-Size car seat, you can still rear face your child for longer in a group 0+1, or group 1, 2 car seat.

3)    A new mandatory side impact test has been introduced.  This is not tested under R44.04.

4)    The seats are selected by height, over weight.

5)    The harness must be easy to adjust, and the covers simple to remove – this will be music to the ears of anyone who has spent a Saturday afternoon fighting the car seat cover!

 

Are they more difficult to fit? 


Yes, extended rear facing car seats can be more difficult to fit, although it does depend on what seat you get.  A majority of extended rear facing car seats have additional tether straps which must be fitted.  Once your tether straps are fitted into your car however, they simply click to the attachments on the child seat.  If you will be moving the seat between vehicles, we recommend buying a spare set of tether straps to leave fitted in the second car to reduce fitting time to that of a 'regular' car seat.



TWE tethers OL

Axkid tethers OL

 

Where can you buy them?


Although there is a good choice of rear facing group 1, 2 car seats available, you are unlikely to find them in major retail stores.  Extended rear facing car seats are typically available from independent retail stores.

You will find extended rear facing car seats available online, however Good Egg Safety discourages online buying as you will not have a member of staff to show you how to fit your seat in the car.



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What is a car seat base?

 

A car seat base normally is used with group 0+ infant car seats.  It is sold separately from the infant seat, and normally remains permanently fitted in the vehicle - it then allows you to simply click the infant seat on and off the base.

Some group 0+1 and group 1 car seats have a separate base, however at the next stage, seats are normally sold in one unit.

What are the options?


There are two options available for fitting bases - seat belt fitment, or ISOFIX.  Some seats will have only ISOFIX or seat belt fitment, but others have both options.

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

 

This base may only be fitted with the seat belt.

This base may only be fitted with ISOFix.

 

This base may only be fitted with ISOFIX.

This base may be fitted with ISOfix or the seat belt.

 

This base may be fitted with ISOFIX or the seat belt.

ISOFIX is considered safer than seat belt fitment, as there are indicators to show you that the base is fitted correctly, when you have a newborn baby this gives you much needed peace of mind!

 

Is it safer to use an infant car seat with a base?


Infant seats are safe whether they are on a base or not, provided they are compatible to both the car and child; as well as fitted correctly on every journey.

Bases are considered safer as these generally remain fitted in the car, either with the seat belt or using ISOFIX.  Your infant seat will click on and off the base, with indicators to show it is fitted properly, which reduces the risk of incorrect fitment and misuse.

 

Fitting issues


Car seat bases experience fitting issues the same as any other car seat, and it is important that you check your base is compatible with your vehicle before you use it.  ISOFIX bases will be listed on a compatibility list, but it is also advantageous to visit a retail store in person that has properly trained staff members to check your base and seat fitment.

 

Should you buy one?


If your budget allows it, and there is a base available to suit your child seat and your car then it is a good choice to buy a base for the car seat.  Not only does it give you peace of mind and makes your life easier with not having to fiddle with seat belts, but it has the added bonus of keeping the seat belt away from the little one's knees as they get older.

Seat belt fitted infant seats normally route the lap belt over the baby's lap, through two blue guides and the chest belt routes around the back of the seat.  Whilst this gives a secure fit, it does mean an older baby or toddler may experience the seat belt pressing on their lap.


Elena SC

 

This is not unsafe or dangerous, however it doesn't look very comfortable and it can be a trigger to move the baby up a seat stage too early.


0+ Car Seat

 

Both little ones are 100% safe whether they use a base or just the seat belt.

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Is it dangerous for a child's legs to hang over the car seat?

It's dangerous for a child's legs to hang over the end of the car seat... FACT or MYTH?

 


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MYTH!


A common belief is that once your child's legs start to hang over their group 0+ car seat, it is outgrown and their legs may get hurt in a collision. This is not true however!  A baby's or toddler's legs are safe to hang over the end of the car seat, and are in very little danger of getting hurt in a collision. This is because in a collision, your baby is pushed back into the car seat, which protects their head, neck and spine.  Their legs fold up to their chest, away from the back of the vehicle seat.  Babies and toddlers are also very comfortable when seated rear facing, and it is important for adults to remember that children are far more flexible than us!  Whilst it certainly would be cramped for us to sit with our legs crossed on a long car journey, children are far more comfortable.  The seat gives continued support to the child's legs, and they are able to move them into suitable positions. It is important to keep your baby and toddler rear facing for as long as possible - a young child's head, neck and spine is very well protected when rear facing, and this protection is reduced when they progress to a forward facing group 1 car seat.  Rear facing group 1 car seats are available to prolong the protection to the head, neck and spine.


Elena SCSubscribe image



 

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What should you do if you breakdown this winter?

Breaking down is inconvenient, potentially dangerous and expensive. It’s the last thing you need to happen on a cold winter trip, but breakdowns do still happen. They’re also more likely to occur in winter – so what should you do if you do break down?  Below are our top tips for dealing with a break down!



Tip1



Have a break down kit in the car! This should contain:


Breaking down kit

Tip2



When you begin having difficulties: pull over as soon as it is safe to do so. On motorways, try and drive your car off the motorway, but if this is not possible, pull as far over to the left on the hard shoulder as possible and turn your wheels to the left. On other roads, try and get your car off the road, if you can’t, pull as far over to the left as possible.



Tip3



Let other road users know you are having difficulties: put your hazard lights on, and when you have pulled over, apply your side lights. On motorways, you should not attempt to put a warning triangle out. On other roads, place a warning triangle 45 meters behind your car on the same side of the road, if it is safe to do so.



Tip4



Exit the vehicle from the left: On motorways it is extremely dangerous to exit on the side of the car nearest to the carriageway.

Take your children out of the car, but leave any pets in the car unless they are in danger - excited or scared pets on a motorway can be an extreme hazard to themselves and other road users.  Even if you have to climb over or find it difficult to get the children out of the car, it is vital you do so from passenger side.

On other roads, exit your car if you have any fear it may be hit by other vehicles.  You may exit your car normally if you are off the road, or it is safe to do so.

Keep the warm and waterproof clothing available, you may have a wait before the breakdown service arrives.



Tip5



Staying safe: Move away from your vehicle, and if you’re on the motorway stand behind the barrier. Put your hi visibility jacket on and  ensure your passengers wear theirs too.  Do not stand between oncoming traffic and your vehicle.

If you are on the motorway do not attempt roadside repairs.

On other roads, only make repairs if it is safe to do so.



Tip6



Phone for help: Use your mobile to call your breakdown cover provider.  If you don't have breakdown cover, most providers will provide cover on the spot (for an additional fee).  There are also breakdown companies who will collect on a one off basis, however this normally works out to be very expensive.

If you’re on the motorway, look out for the driver location sign which will help you pinpoint your location to the operator.


driver-location-sign

 

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Second hand car seat danger - Case study 3

Can you spot what is wrong with this car seat?


This blog is going to continue our focus on the dangers of buying a second hand car seat without knowing its history with case study 3.

You can read the rest of the series by clicking the following links:

Introduction to second hand seats

Tips for buyers

Case Study 1

Case Study 2

 

for FB OL

 


This car seat was purchased from a well-known auction site for £10 with local collection; to the eye this seat looks in good condition. The advert claims that it has been kept in the garage and never dropped or involved in an accident.

When our expert collected the seat, the seller was a friendly Dad of 6 and they were selling to make room in the garage. The seller told our expert that he was very concerned about child seat safety; he again assured us that the seat had never been involved in a collision and that he would never sell one that had been.

This is a group 0,1,2 car seat that is used rear facing to start with, and turns forward facing later on.

Our expert has studied this seat closely, and we have found the following causes for concern…

 

Under the cover


The foam protection in this seat is severely damaged and cracked, which greatly reduces the protection the seat can offer.



DAMAGED OL

 

BREAK OL

DAMAGED POLY OL

HARNESS OL

 

This seat has not been well cared for, and the damage to the foam raises concerns over the ability of the seat to provide the protection it should be able to give.

 

The harness


The harness on this seat looked to be fine when our expert collected the seat.  However upon inspection of the seat, it became apparent that the harness has been tampered with!



HARNESS 3 OL

 

Have you spotted what is wrong yet?


The hip straps on this seat have been tampered with, the harness is supposed to be a 5 point harness, with the hip straps attached to the seat. This attachment has been removed at some point in the seats life, leaving the harness only able to restrain the child across the shoulders and crotch strap. This is severe damage to the harness and it would be very dangerous in a collision, the force of an impact would only be spread over the child’s shoulders, and the buckle and harness are unlikely to be able to take the additional strain.



BROKEN HARNESS OL

 

There is also no ECE R44 label on this seat, although we know it is a European seat, we are unable to tell to what approval it was tested.

 

The seller


What struck our expert with this seat however, was the seller. When the seat was collected our expert got chatting to him - he’s a Dad of 6, had come back from taking his family on holiday the day before and works in children’s entertainment and with disabled children. He is an extremely caring individual who actively works to improve children’s lives, yet he sold a child seat that is not only very old, but very dangerous.

A seller of a seat may not be aware the seat they are selling is dangerous and believe that it is safe and a bargain for someone – if the buyer also doesn’t spot these damages, the only time they will find out their seat is dangerous is in a collision.

If you have to buy second hand, only buy from someone who you trust, and that you 100% know the history of the seat, a dangerous car seat may cost them their life.

 

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Second hand car seats – Is this car seat safe?

 

Welcome to Good Egg Safety’s blog series on second hand car seats. We are running a number of blog’s to evaluate if it is safe to buy and use a second hand car seat, and what dangers second hand seats pose to children.

As part of the blog series, our expert has purchased car seats from an online auction site to assess through case studies. We have already released the first case study, which you can read here.

 

Is this seat safe?


SEAT BASE OL

 

To the eye, this seat is in good condition. It also comes with a base and the newborn insert  – this seat and base cost £20 which is far less than the cost of buying new.

However, when our expert inspected this seat, it became apparent that it isn’t as good as it appears to be. We have found problems with the polystyrene protection in the seat, the harness and crotch strap. We also have concerns about the base.

 

 The harness...


Harness OL



The harness looks in good condition at first glance, but on closer inspection, it is severely damaged.


altered straps OL

 

The harness has folded and twisted in the past, beyond being able to use it – the harness has had material stitched to it to straighten it out. This hugely reduces the integrity of the harness, causing serious concern over it’s ability to restrain a child in a collision.

 

 The crotch strap...


damaged strap OL

 

The crotch strap has been tampered with, to the point that it is extremely dangerous. It has torn in the past, and been stitched – this crotch strap would not be able to safely take the force of a collision and restrain a child.

 

 The polystyrene protection...


damaged polystyrene OL

 

When we removed the cover of this seat, we found the polystyrene head support damaged. This seat would be unable to spread the force of a collision as well as a new seat would, and the damage here could also cause head injuries to a child, despite being in the very safest rear facing position.

 

 The base...


The plastic base contains many stress fractures. This base may have been previously involved in a collision, dropped or not very well cared for. The plastic of the base is unlikely to be as strong as needed to adequately protect a child and hold the seat in place in a collision.

 

 Is this seat safe?

 

No.  We would go as far as to term this seat a “death trap”.  It is extremely unlikely to protect a child in a collision and should never have been sold on second hand to the last user of this seat.  The person who last used this seat had no idea it was as dangerous as it is.


Our expert is going to keep this seat and use it in training and demonstrations to highlight the dangers of buying a seat without knowing the history.

 

Have you ever used a second hand car seat, then found problems with it?  We want to hear your experiences!

 


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Second hand child seats - Tips for buying

Welcome to the next installment in our second hand child seat series!  This post is looking at how we can use second hand seats as safely as possible.


Whenever possible, your child's car seat should be purchased as a new product, from a retail store who are able to give you good advice.

In purchasing from a retailer and taking advice, you can be sure the seat you buy is suitable for your child, compatible with your car and you will be shown how to fit the seat.  You will also know that your seat is brand new, and can be confident that the seat will do its job should you be involved in a collision.

Sometimes though, financial hardship can leave no choice but to buy a second hand seat, or a family member or close friend offers you a seat that you know is in perfect condition.  In this situation, what can you do to ensure the seat is used safely?

Our Good Egg Expert has put together 10 things to do before you decide to take a second hand seat!



Tip1



Only buy from family or close friends

Is the seat from someone you would trust with your child's life, such as a close friend or family member? Don't be tempted to buy a seat from a friend or family member to spare their feelings!

Only buy a seat you 100% know the history of - if you have any doubts about a seat, don't use it!



Tip2



How much is the second hand seat?

Can you buy a brand new seat for the price of a second hand seat?  There are many options available, and a benefit of buying new is being able to get advice and seat fitment - check out our blog on top seats for under £100!



Tip3



Find out the make and model of the seat.


What seat is it that you're buying?  Is it a well known brand?  Be aware that there are fake seats out there!



Tip4



Check the ECE approval label:

Does the seat carry an approval label?  A seat must carry a label for R44.03, R44.04 or R129 iSize.



Graco 44.03 OLECE LabelOL
 

Tip5



Check that the seat is suitable for your child

Does the seat accommodate your child's weight and height?  If the seat is forward facing, don't move up until the rear facing seat is fully outgrown!  Our chart will help you find out if the seat is the correct group:



Pic5

 

Tip6



Check the seat will fit your car

Some child seat manufacturers have fitting lists or online fit finders to help you find out what is compatible with your car.  Research what will fit your car - does your car have issues with buckle crunch?  Floor storage boxes or forward anchor point?



Tip7



Research the seat

    • Is the seat still currently available?

 

    • Has there been any recalls on the seat?

 

    • If it isn't available in shops now, why not?

 

    • Is it an old seat that is no longer manufactured?



If the seat is currently available, visit a store to see it close up as a new product - what does it look like new and what items comes with the seat.  Ensure the second hand seat has all parts present and instructions!



Tip8



Inspect the seat

Once you know what the seat looks like new, inspect the second hand seat - is the seat shell plastic, foam protection under the covers and harness in good condition, with no marks, rips, dents or tears?  If the seat shell, foam or harness is damaged in any way - don't use the seat!



Tip9



Are safer seats available?

Check out what your options would be buying new, is a safer seat available, or a seat that is more compatible with your vehicle or easier to fit?



Tip10



Get the fitment checked!

If you decide to take the second hand seat, get the fitment checked at a Good Egg Clinic or with your local road safety team (if they do car seat checking).  We won't be able to confirm your seat is safe without knowing the history, but we can confirm if the seat is fitted and used correctly!


 

 

GE

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Second hand car seats case study 1 - Mamas and Papas Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!

Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from eBay – this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic.

The seller on eBay stated:

"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months.

What are the problems with this seat?

First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat. A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now. This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

Is it legal?

The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it's age. However, R44.03 was released in 1995 – so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

Is it easy to fit?

The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby's lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat. The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement, however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child's life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?

No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it's safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn't second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won't be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert's vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

So, is this seat safe?

No.

This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use. It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing, it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety – don't let a child you know be put in danger! – raise awareness!

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Second hand car seats case study 1 - Mama's and Papa's Traveller G-Matic

Welcome to case study 1!


Throughout November we are focusing on the dangers second hand seats pose to children and their families.

We are running four case studies on seats that our expert has bought from an auction wesbite - this installment is going to look at the first seat our expert found, it is a Mama’s and Papa’s Traveller G-Matic.

 

The seller online stated:


"The seat has never been involved in an accident, is in good condition and suitable from 0-6 months."

 

close up OL

 

What are the problems with this seat?



First of all, this seat is old, which we can see from the design of the covers and the frame of the seat.  A seat this old will not offer the protection current seats can, and it is unlikely to pass higher impact testing or side impact testing.

This seat is a group 0 rear facing infant seat, these are rarely made in rear facing mode now.  This means a child could only rear face to 10kg in this seat, where most modern seats allow rear facing to 13kg – up to about 12/15 months old.

 

Is it legal?


The seat has an ECE sticker on the rear, which shows it to be an R44.03 approved seat. This means that the seat can still legally be used, despite it’s age.



ECE R44.03 OL

 

However, R44.03 was released in 1995 - so this seat could be anywhere up to 19 years old!

 

Is it easy to fit?


The fitment of the seat is what we are used to seeing on infant seats nowadays, with the lap belt over the baby’s lap and the chest belt around the back of the seat.



Fitted OL

 

The handle also has to be back on this seat, rather than upright. On most modern infant seats, the handle is upright or forward to allow it to act as a roll cage in a collision.

This seat has no newborn inserts or head huggers, and the side impact protection is lacking. Under R44.03 and R44.04 crash testing, side impact protection is not currently a legal requirement,  however many modern R44.04 infant seats will provide side impact protection.

Under R129 iSize side impact protection is a legal requirement which is crash tested.

The harness on this seat is also different to what we see on modern seats.



Harness old OL

 

This harness must be adjusted individually from the back of the seat. This means that the harness is even less likely to be used correctly, as it is very difficult and fiddly to alter the straps as your child grows/to suit their clothing. Also note that there is only one harness position.

The primary concern with this seat – and it should be with any seat you do not know the history of – is that it is second hand. A stranger is telling us that this is going to protect our child’s life – is the word of a stranger good enough?

 

Our expert paid £5.99 for this seat, plus postage – worth the bargain?


No. This seat is now too old to be sure of it’s safety and effectiveness, even if it wasn’t second hand. We have no idea of the history of the seat and the way in which the seat is fitted and used means it most likely won’t be adjusted correctly.

The seat did not fit safely in our expert’s vehicle either – can you spot what is wrong with the fitment of this seat in this vehicle?

 


Mamas and Papa's in car 002

 

So, is this seat safe?

 

No.


This seat is not a safe or suitable child restraint to use.  It is unlikely to be able to pass crash testing,  it has a small seat shell meaning it won't last very long and the seat provides no side impact protection.

Second hand car seats pose a huge threat to children's safety - don't let a child you know be put in danger! Raise awareness!


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