Quality improves as child car seats pass stringent safety tests
Just one model out of 24 fails in the Consumer Council's annual assessment
The quality of child car seats is gradually improving, with only one model failing safety checks, according to test results in this month's Choice magazine.
Of 24 models tested by the Consumer Council and several overseas organisations, only one raised significant safety concerns.
The council found that in a frontal crash impact test, the Mamas & Pappas Navetta carry cot, designed for infants weighing less than 10kg, 'dislodged from the seat and the cot and dummy were catapulted forward'.
'We are not satisfied with the performance of this product,' council deputy chief executive Connie Lau Yin-hing said. 'Consumers are therefore advised to take extra care and precaution in the use of this model.'
She noted that all the restraints tested complied with European safety standards but the council's tests created 'more stringent and realistic' conditions.
On the positive side, council publicity and community relations committee chairman Matthew Ng said three of the 24 restraints had received four-star ratings this year. While they were still a fair way from achieving the top five-star rating, it was an improvement on last year, when the top performers gained only 31/2 stars.
'The council hopes that child restraint manufacturers will continue to improve their products so that the loads on the child in an accident will be even further reduced,' Mr Ng said.
He said that for infants and children up to 13kg, rear-facing restraints that held them in a semi-vertical position were slightly better in frontal impact conditions.
However, for heavier children, a forward-facing seat performed better in side impact scenarios.
'Motorists and parents should bear in mind when choosing a car seat that the body weight and size of the child is the main criterion that should be taken into account. Age is just an indication generally.'