Our competitor Britax-Römer is currently attempting to unsettle consumers with claims that child restraint systems with impact shields are dangerous. Britax-Römer believe there is a possible danger of a child slipping out in the event of a rollover. Britax-Römer has already contacted retailers in some European countries regarding this and, have posted their results on their website and uploaded videos to YouTube.
This communication appears to be questionable as Britax-Römer previously sold impact shield seats from the early 70s until 2003. At this time, they enjoyed very good ratings in consumer tests and were available as original equipment in the car industry (AUDI, VW, SEAT, FORD, MERCEDES, OPEL etc.) In addition, Mercedes continues to provide an impact shield in their factory integrated child seats. BMW also offers its customers an ISOFIX-suitable child seat with an impact shield as an original accessory. These well respected car manufacturers all have crash systems which are able to simulate rollover tests. We are confident that, at least in their internal tests, the factory offered car seat accessories are tested in various vehicle collision situations.
The incidence of rollovers as a result of a collision, as referred to in the video posted by Britax-Römer , have dramatically decreased in recent years. This is due to continually advancing technical innovation in car safety, especially ESP*, resulting in these types of collision becoming even rarer. This is why established European crash test programmes such as EuroNCAP are concentrating on accidents predominantly involving frontal and side impacts.
The most frequent type of accident, making up around half of all collisions, are frontal impacts! It is precisely in these situations that forward-facing child restraint systems with a 5-point belt system are clearly at a disadvantage. Almost all of these seats tested in the past few years by Stiftung Warentest/ADAC only achieved average results for front impact accidents whereas Impact shield systems, as well as rearward-facing restraint systems, have shown significant reduction in critical loads in these situations.
Last but not least, we would like to point out that all child seats must be subjected to a legal approval procedure according to the latest ECE standard ECE R44/04 by an independent testing institute such as DEKRA. The ECE standard ECE R44/04 also includes a rollover test which all Kiddy models have passed in order to receive a valid approval certficate. This approval is required before any car seat can be available in the European market.
The impact systems manufactured by us offer a very high level of protection which are, in our experience and proven by recognised test centres, at least as safe as any forward-facing five-point harness system.
We find the behaviour of our competitor particularly regrettable. Britax- Romer have so blatantly used such methods to promote their own products whilst, at the same time, damage our well deserved reputation.
In our opinion, Britax-Römer is doing child safety a disservice with this policy.
ESP* – electonic stability programme