Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-06-0093

Child Safety: Who's Move Is It? 2003-06-0093

Today's approval of Child Restraint Systems (CRS) according to ECE Regulation 44-03 does not take into account the latest state-of-the-art knowledge concerning child vehicle occupant safety. For instance, while the present fleet of passenger cars has an average deceleration pulse of 35 g in a frontal impact, the peak deceleration achieved in the dynamic sled test for a CRS approval is considerably less severe at approximately 20 g. New product innovations like ISOFix have taken too much time to get an industry-wide agreement and new assessment methods and tools such as the "side impact procedure with Q-dummies" are after 8 years of research still not implemented.
The protection offered to child occupants in a passenger car accident could greatly benefit from a better cooperation between child restraint and car manufacturers and quicker implementation of new knowledge. Recognizing this potential, the European consumer and government organizations wish for car manufacturers to be more responsible for the safely transport of children. These organizations are developing alternative test procedures that may overrule ECE R.44 in practice.
This overview paper presents the European trends on child safety today and aims to give more background to the forces that are into play. In particular, it will focus on the following aspects with regard to the child vehicle occupant safety: Influence of consumer (EuroNCAP) and government (EEVC) organizations; New research projects (CHILD), assessment methods and proposed rating techniques (NCAPS); CRS safety regulations and standards (harmonization).
Reviewing the facts about child safety today, it is no longer justifiable to approve an interchangeable CRS, based on a single pulse sled test, as an universal safety product for all type of passenger cars, because the loading of child restraint systems is completely different in a passenger car test (Euro NCAP) than in a standard sled test (ECE Regulation 44).


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