That children should ride in a car safety seat (also called a child restraint system) suitable for their weight and size, we all know that right?
At the time it became mandatory to carry children in a safety seat, there was a significant reduction in the number of children killed in traffic accidents. Although, despite this, it is still the main cause of death in children under 12 years of age. This causes many organizations to continue investigating and recommending that children travel in their safety seat. But are all approved chairs safe? I am going to tell you about my experience and how I came to discover something that never ceases to horrify me.
M is now almost two years old and, like all parents, we have also had to do our study on car seats. As you know, I love scratching and delving into the topics in case I can bring you something new; and in this case I found! I found something very worrying. Something dangerous that is not being disclosed or hidden and can cause serious injury to children.
Like many of you who are reading this post I resorted to the 'rankings' of the RACE, RACC and OCU. Like all parents, I was looking for the safest chair for my daughter. I went through all the childcare stores that I could and the recommendation was always the same: 'Look at the rankings of the RACE, RACC and OCU and you will see that the winning chairs are the chairs with the front shield.They are the safest!'. Finally we trust and we decide to buy it.
Peeeeero, since I'm never entirely happy if they don't give me clear data, I decided to try one last store. I entered asking about the chair that I wanted to buy and my SURPRISE It was when the person who was treating me said: I will never sell that chair to you! (Forgive me for thanking you infinitely: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!)
Then he explained all the reasons and taught me an infinity of data and studies on the subject. Not only was he documenting me with files, but he also did pedagogical exercises where I could have the (approximate) feeling that my daughter would have in the event of having an accident. He spent 2 hours explaining all this to me! Since I was in complete shock, I told him that we would spend the afternoon with Mr. Daaad and to explain it to him as well. Two more hours of talk! I assure you that it is the first time that we find a place where they explain things well to us and also document them in a technical way.
As a result of this I began to look for all the possible information to be able to explain what is the problem of the chairs with shield. And here it goes, with all the possible studies and archives since 2012 so you can see that it is not just another story, this is documented.
1.-What are the retention chairs with shield?
There are several types of restraint systems in car seats (I will not go into too much detail so as not to extend a lot). I am interested that you know these two systems because they are the ones that I will talk about in this entry.
- The five-point harness: Belt system that goes through shoulders and hips and unites in the center. The chair is anchored to the car (by belt or isofix) and the child is anchored to the chair by this harness.
- Shield system: The child is held by the blue cushion (in the photo), which is held by the seat belt of the same car.
Shield retention chairs have been around since 1960 and disappeared in the late 1990s.
It seems that now they are back in fashion and you have surely seen them in most childcare stores.
The idea of these shields is not bad. The intention is that, analyzing the frontal impacts in a retention system with a 5-point harness, they realized that the child (from 1 to 4 years old) experiences a load on the neck that is greater than it can bear. This causes serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
When eliminating the five-point harness by a shield system, it seemed that this load decreased (although it is not entirely clear as we see in This studio). But some problems were left in the pipeline. So the safest way, for the moment, is to travel in reverse gear. But this is the subject of another post. Let's continue with what we are dealing with now, the chairs with a shield.
2.- What problems can chairs with frontal shield cause?
Problems that have not been taken into account or have not been correctly assessed are:
- ABDOMINAL AND CHEST PROBLEMS ABOVE PRESSURE ABOVE THE TOLERATED:
It seems that in applied studies These retention systems cause pressure in the abdomen that is higher than that tolerated by children.
In the first studies it was said that the pressure exerted on the abdomen and chest was 1.8 bars (let's say that the dummies did not have an abdominal sensor). But In the last analyzes it has been discovered that the pressure they experience can be higher! I'm just telling you that the maximum allowed in studies and proposals is (approx) 1.3 bars. What these chairs are giving is> 1.5 bars. What does 1.5 bar mean? Why does it exceed the figure? How does this higher number affect the abdomen of our children? The lack of clarity I dislike very much.
Booster seats with shield are compared, approved for children weighing 9.1 to 18.1 kg (…) The authors found that children sitting in a shield retention system (16 patients) had a higher risk (…) In addition, the shield retention system group had a higher risk of entering care intensive (...) This group also had a higher risk of head, chest, and abdominal injury / pelvics (…) For these reasons , The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of shielding in retention systems.
- EJECTION PROBLEMS:
What is this study about?
This study wants to compare if the results that the RACE translates for us are correlative with what happens on a daily basis.
In the study published by UNECE We can see how they are comparing the ADAC protocol with the EuroNCAP protocol. They use the same speeds and the same sensors as in each of those tests. At first you can already see something that draws attention. A very big difference is that in the ADAC the test car is anchored to the rail and in the EuroNCAP test the car is real (it is not anchored). Thus, it must be questioned whether the results of the ADAC correspond to the reality of a frontal impact when the cars they are using to carry out the tests do not have the same characteristics as those we carry on a day-to-day basis. No one drives a car anchored to the ground.
Why in the studies that are carried out in EuroNCAP do the Dummies go off and in those carried out in the ADAC not?
So simple because the tests carried out in the ADAC are done with a test lane where 'the car' is anchored, as we have already said. The tests carried out by EuroNCAP are done with real cars, like the ones that all parents carry in our day to day.
What does this influence?
When you have a head-on collision with the car in real life, it first hits and then rises from the back. At the time this happens, the child can be fired, as in the cases we see in the study. In ADAC studies the car does not get up because it is anchored to the test lane.
Therefore, this study shows that:
«… That this technology could have substantial safety problems in the most representative accident situation (frontal impact) (…)» «… according to the Euro NCAP protocol, it has confirmed this finding with:
Q1 mannequins or 1.5 years old:
- Q1.5: Lack of retention
- Q1: the complete expulsion in a test
- Q1: partial ejection in 2 tests (…), included in the impact of the head with a roof or with a seat (…)
On 3-year-old mannequins:
- (…) impact of the head on the roof in the »rebound phase«
- Greater abdominal pressure than the child can accept.
Some child restraint systems with a shield have demonstrated the risk of injury in overturning and frontal impact (…) »
- ANTINATURAL MOVEMENT:
These retention systems are not adjustable, so depending on the height the cushion will be higher (in the chest) or lower (in the abdomen).
What can cause this? Well in case of a frontal impact, not having the cushion in the right place, the child's body does not travel forward (as it would be ideal), but generates an unnatural movement of the neck forward while the rest of the body is retained by the shield. This can result in vertebra rupture with possible internal decapitation.
- HEAD INJURIES FROM IMPACT AGAINST THE SAME SHIELD or with any part of the car if it is fired.
In different studies we verify that all end with the same conclusion:
In summary, based on the analyzed data, the consequences of the current reactivation of child protection shield systems cannot be determined with certainty. A clear benefit cannot be established from the observations and potential risks have been identified. It is also unclear whether testing procedures are sufficient for evaluating these protection systems in the real world. Thus, caution should be exercised with these systems Y carry out studies(for example, simulation with human models, analysis of accident data (…) to understand and detect as soon as possible the problems it can cause in the real world . » (if you want to read more about this study, very interesting, here I leave the link)
Heiko Johannsen, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany
Philippe Beillas, Université de Lyon, F-69622, Lyon, France; IFSTTAR, LBMC,
UMR_T9406, F-69675, Bron; Université Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France
Philippe Lesire, LAB PSA Peugeot-Citroën / Renault, France
Therefore I am between doubt, fear, anger and outrage because I have the feeling that there is confusion in the tests that come to us. It is not a fad, we are talking about security!
Forgive me this long post, but I think that after reading it you will all be with me when I ask why? I believe this information is important and valuable enough to share.