New CRS tests results for Latin America and the Caribbean region
02.24.2021

New CRS tests results for Latin America and the Caribbean region

A new round of results of the Latin American Child Restraint Systems Evaluation Programme, PESRI, was released today with the safety performance of 12 Child Restraint Systems (CRS) models sold in Latin America and the Caribbean region. Two results are also added from models that were evaluated in 2019 only with ISOFIX anchorages and were now tested with seatbelt.


First 2021 results

Access all CRS tested here

The tested CRS were selected from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay markets, however the models are also available in other countries in the region. The tests include six infant carriers (Britax Baby Safe 2, Chicco Autofix Fast, Cybex Aton Q, Cybex Cloud Q, Maxi Cosi Cabriofix y Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SL), four convertible models for babies or small children (Cybex Sirona S, Bébé Confort Axissfix, Maxi Cosi Axissfix Plus and D´bebe Confort) and five multi-group seats that can be used as Boosters (Cybex Pallas M and M-Fix, Monza Nova IS, Kiddo Adapt and Bebesit Supersport).

Multigroup CRS cover more than one mass group and are popular as they are a relatively cost-effective solution to transport children for a wider time range on the same CRS. However, the tests demonstrated once again that they rarely reach good performances over the whole range of application.

Overall results are in line with previous years and confirm that multigroup seats can compromise safety, mainly for CRS installed using the adult seatbelt. However, 3 multigroup CRS (Pallas M-Fix, Kiddo Adapt and Bebesit Supersport) achieved four stars results.

In the dynamic tests, one CRS (D’bebe Confort) recorded high loads together with undesirable movements of the dummy and the total collapse of the CRS structure, ejecting the dummy into the vehicle The result of this is a high injury risk which led to a low score of only one star for this CRS.

Most of the CRSs in the market are installed and attached to cars using the adult seatbelt, explained by the absence in the market of ISOFIX anchorages in vehicles, the absence of CRS with ISOFIX connectors or a combination of both. This makes CRS “misuse” or incorrect installation more likely and frequent. When CRSs are installed using the adult seatbelt they need to be adjusted again in a weekly basis as the CRS get loose or gradualy loss of tightnes in the seatbelt over days, even after successful installation.

Most of the car fleet in the streets is not equipped with ISOFIX anchorages. However, in line with new global standards and trends, it is increasingly common for new vehicle models to offer ISOFIX anchorages as standard equipment. ISOFIX anchorages allow the CRS with ISOFIX connectors to be rigidly attached to the vehicle, in a simpler way compared to the seatbelt since the ISOFIX anchorages contribute to drastically reduce misuse and incorrect installation, therefore, considerably improve safety.

User instructions or manuals are a point of attention. The correct CRS use of good performing CRSs means better of protection. Incorrect seatbelt routes, slack in harness or car seatbelt, inappropriate CRS (e.g. wrong size or orientation) increase the likehood of serious consequences for children in case of a crash, regardless the protection qualities of the CRS when used optimally. In these review, there were some poor performers, for example the D´Bebe CRS offers poor marking of seatbelt route, lacks of airbag warning label for rearward facing installation and the CRS size groups classification tries to emulate Regulation UN R44 but does it in an incorrect way. Recaro Monza Nova and Monza Nova IS offer black and white manuals that do not allow to appreciate the correct guidance and installation of the coloured signaling for seatbelt route.

Recommendations

For consumers:

Use appropriate rearward facing CRS for toddlers at least until 18 months old and when possible until 3 years old. As most of Latin American markets, cars lack of proper side impact protection, when using boosters cushions, PESRI only recommends to use only booster seats with backrest including side impact protection. Boosters cushions without backrests do not offer side impact protection. All children should use some type of CRS until they reach at least 1,35m height.

For governments:

CRS use should be mandatory for children up to 135cm height. CRS technical regulation UN R129 requirement should be mandated in Latin American legislation alongside with UN R44 regulation. Speed up the introduction of LATCH/ISOFIX CRS and cars with ISOFIX anchorages under regulation UN 145 (or UN 14) by mandatory requirement. In addition PESRI calls for improvements in frontal and side impact protection; CRS should be able to cope with real life crash-severity. Although PESRI tests are more demanding than UN regulations, they represent the real life traffic scenarios. Alongside with the regulatory improvements, PESRI rating should be encouraged and mandated in order to offer consumers independent real-life safety performance information.

For those countries that do not have regulations regarding the mandatory use of CRS, it is recommended to implement the requirement for the use of CRS for children up to 135cm and in compliance with technical standards as soon as possible.

For CRSs and car manufacturers:

Improve the usability and installation of CRS in cars in the region by making ISOFIX anchorages and connectors standard in cars and correct colour coding of seatbelt routes on CRS, as well as simple harness adjustments, preferably that the operation is carried out with one hand.

About regulations

CRS must comply with UN regulations R44 or R129, with their respective approval certificates, granted by a Type Approval Authority (TAA) from a UN member country of the 1958 agreement, and promote market surveiilance or compliance with the technical standard FMVVS 213 from the USA, which is a self certification system. UN R129 technical standard is the only one that requires side impact protection in addition to frontal impact protection.

From the models assessed, therteen have UN R44 or UN R129 approvals granted by the European TAA, except for the D’bebe Confort, which does not have any known certification. In addition to dynamic testing, UN R44 and UN R129 prescribe other provisions, such as the color coding of belt routes, the presence of an airbag warning label on rear-facing CRSs, etc. These guidelines facilitate installation and prevent consumers from using the rearward facing CRS with an activated airbag.

A special case is the D’bebe that does not have any European standard approval label or self-certification under FMVSS. It appears to be a hybrid product with a combination of certain UN R44 and FMVSS 213 requirements (4 months to 4 years or 25 kg like some CRS under the FMVSS and group classification according to UN R44). But it does not have a warning when it is installed rearward facing in front of an active airbag, the group classification is incorrect and the colors used for the belt guide do not comply with any of the mentioned regulations. The brand representative says that this CRS meets international safety standards, which could not be proved by them.

The importance of Regulation 129 (or I-Size)

The new UN Regulation UN R129 coexists with UN Regulation UN R44. UN R129 is being introduced in phases whilst the equivalent UN R44 parts are slowly phased out. UN R129’s main improvements are the mandatory rearward facing transport of children until at least 15 months considering that the rearward facing offers the best protection for babies and toddlers in frontal impact. In addition, it includes the introduction of requirements such as that harnesses can be adjusted without having to be disconnected to avoid frequent problems of misuse, as well as requirements for side protection that are absent in other standards.

UN R129 is currently almost non-existent in Latin America, UN R44 is predominant. Considering the fading out of the of the UN R44 as well as the higher level of protection offered by UN R129, consumers should push for fast introduction of UN R129, at least as an alternative alongside UN R44 or have its requirements implemented in national legislation.

The product selection of this time tests had an emphasis on products approved under Regulation UN R129, with 5 CRSs approved in a range from infants, toddlers to children using boosters. PESRI will keep these products as a primary target for future selections.

About PESRI

The Latin American Child Restraint Systems Evaluation Programme (PERSI) aims to raise awareness amongst consumers on the importance of CRS use, offer independent consumer information on safety performance and deliver input for the New Car Assessment Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean, Latin NCAP reference list. Each CRS is subject to a series of tests, ranging from performance in frontal and side impact tests, to its ease of use, resulting in a star rating score, from one to five. The testing results allows consumers to make an informed decision when buying a CRS.

PESRI is a multi stakeholder partnership working to achieve the United Nations’ road safety Global Goals, by providing parents in Latin America and the Caribbean with an independent assessment of some of the most commonly available CRS. Partners in the programme include Global NCAP, International Consumers Research & Testing, FIA Foundation, Fundación Gonzalo Rodriguez (Uruguay), ProTeste (Brazil), ODECU (Chile), El Poder del Consumidor (Mexico), and FIA Region IV. Since its inception in 2013 the tests are more realistic and more demanding than required by Regulation.

CRS are tested in frontal and side impact in a real car environment. Bottom line is that children should benefit from at least the same level of protection as adults and be able to survive accidents of Latin NCAP severity. Frontal tests were carried out in a VW Golf body on a test sled, using the NCAP pulse for that specific car. Side impact was performed against a fixed ‘door’ (10º to direction of impact). Not all configurations were dynamically tested, generally only the most demanding ones. Ease of use was assessed by means of a checklist tailored to the Latin American situation.

More information: www.pesri.org

 

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