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Car seat safety still not simple enough for parents, says Euro NCAP

Car seat safety still not simple enough for parents, says Euro NCAP
Tristan Honeywill

Euro NCAP’s secretary-general Michiel van Ratingen has described the current ISOFIX situation as “far from ideal” for parents. Although most five-star cars from 2009 onwards feature top tether fixtures, a lack of information means many consumers are oblivious to this critical car seat safety feature.

top tether in carTop tether anchorage points in cars have only become mandatory in Europe recently. The top tether attachment is one of the two provisions used to prevent the child restraint from tipping forward in a frontal crash. Many solutions are “semi-universal ISOFIX”, child restraints or car safety seats with an anti-rotation device, often a support leg. Consumers are supposed to be able to find out whether the seat can be used in a vehicle on the seat-maker’s website, based on data supplied to them by carmakers. However communication has been poor.

“Most consumers do not even know such lists exist,” said van Ratingen. “From what we see in the cars we test, it’s clear that since 2009 five-star cars are almost always equipped with a three point ISOFIX– two clip-in anchorages and one top tether.”

Euro NCAP has been encouraging manufacturers to make these fixtures available on at least three seating positions in the car, along with proper labelling.

Q dummies“The forthcoming iSize* standard is meant to make it easier for parents to check whether a child restraint fits on a certain seating position in the car. Unfortunately this does nothing to improve the current situation with the top tethers.”

* ‘i-Size’ (Integral Universal ISOFIX Child Restraint Systems) is a new category of Child Restraint System for use in all i-Size seating positions of a vehicle. More on this soon….

If you’re buying a new or used car, check the Euro NCAP rating to see which seats fit the car and how they perform.

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