RACE response to the scandal about child safety tests for children (part III)

And to finalize the analysis of the RACE response to this post, today we will share with you the PDF that attached the email. (Click here to see the document without cuts)

Let's go there!

'RACE and Child Safety The Royal Automobile Club of Spain has among its functions that of ensuring the road safety of all road users, regardless of the mode of transport they use (car, motorcycle, on foot, bicycle, etc. .). Within this area, the section of child road safety has been one of our most priority objectives, both from the education of the youngest in road safety issues, as in the awareness of the elderly and their responsibility to their children. This training line aimed at children aims to train future adults with a road education that enriches society by generating good road users, as well as promoting good road practices that favor respect for other users and a mobility that follows the rules of road training. With these interests so clear, almost a decade ago we started working on a project with the sole objective that no one under 12 years of age (or below 135 cm) travel without an approved child restraint system, which unfortunately We have not yet achieved, since there are still children killed in a traffic accident that did not carry the SRI every year. At that time many children were traveling safely in the car, and many chairs that were put up for sale did not offer protection to the children. Almost 14 years later we believe that we have put our grain of sand in improving the safety of children, with more information and with product analysis, a fact that adds to the investment made by the RACE, outside these European tests, to continue driving research.

'In this sense, our goal is twofold. On the one hand we want to raise awareness among adults (parents, grandparents, friends ...) about the need to carry a child restraint system while traveling in vehicles; and on the other, we wanted to be able to analyze both the use and the safety characteristics of these against traffic accidents'

  • So far, nothing to say. They present their company and everything they do. As we have mentioned on numerous occasions: we have nothing against the other products and intentions of the RACE, our doubt centers on its 'safer chair rankings' and the consequences.

'In order to achieve the most comprehensive analysis possible, the RACE joined the project led by both consumer organizations and different European club cars, in order to jointly analyze the various models of SRI that They are for sale in the market, publishing an average of 30 models in each report. With this information, the only thing we pursue is that consumers can find out about the security features, handling, ergonomics, cleaning and hazardous materials for children. '

  • Comparing and analyzing is a positive thing, we agree with that, but with all the information on the table. Erroneous information (such as not presenting the information of the studies what will you find hereí) leads to an erroneous choice result.

'All these tests and features allow us to have an idea about the chair, based not only on the brand image, price or type of chair, but, based on an approved model, the safety features of it can be revealed in the event of an accident.

  • But that's not true. In 2012, the RACE started a campaign in which they were betting that the back-up position was the safest (which we agree on), but in their tests they won chairs in favor of the march and with a shield. So I think here they are not showing the safety of the chair, right? It would be inconsistent.

'The choice of approved models that are analyzed in each study They are chosen by the consumer associations following as criteria their novelty in the market, or models that already existed in the market but that have incorporated some kind of improvement in security matters. In no case do club cars suggest the models to be evaluated, thus avoiding any type of subjectivity in the final data. We insist: we analyze what is sold, Y The test criteria are based on current approval standards. '

  • In our view, speaking only of what IS SOLD instead of WHAT IS SAFE causes confusion in the parents when choosing a retention system. And if it is necessary to talk about what is sold, let's do it with all the information on the table, right? Why, when they talk about the safety features of the chairs with shield, have the studies for the new R129 homologation been hidden (for example)?
  1. What does it mean we analyze what is sold? Chosen by consumer associations? It would not be more opportune for the choice to be made by qualified technicians based on safety and not on sales.
  2. The test criteria They are based on current approval standards: The homologation is not 'the panacea'. That a chair is approved does not mean that it is safe, all it means is that it meets the minimum standards. Let's give an example to understand a little more. If you travel by motorcycle you have the possibility of protecting your head with an approved helmet that you can find in any non-specialized store or with an approved and safe helmet. Which one do you choose? The same goes for car seats for children. And if you want more information you can go through the page of 'Child Re-tension'that explain it wonderfully.

The results of the evaluated chairs are presented independently and totally objective, so there is no doubt. In addition, the Automobile clubs expose the evaluations on their websites so that users, researchers, companies, distributors or potential buyers can use this evaluation as a reference to create an opinion and make a purchase as informed as possible. More information on how we evaluate the tests http://www.race.es/seguridadvial/formacion-race/sillas-infantiles/garantiacalidad-sistema-retencion-infantil

  • And here the circle that costs so much to break. If you expose the parents 'THE SAFER CHAIRS', obviously the parents will compare them and how you analyze what is sold, because the closed circle is already there!
  • But if what you expose is wrong (you yourself contradict yourself when you speak of a counter-march but value as 'very satisfactory' chairs with a shield) What is the information you give to parents? What do you think are the chairs they will compare? We all know the answer.

Some clarifications to the European test. For some years now, we have been observing criticism of the way we analyze the chairs criticisms that on the other hand do not come from manufacturers, the maximum affected of a bad result that invest in the safety of their models. In cases where there have been differences in criteria, the model has been analyzed again, this time in collaboration with the manufacturer, and improvements have been made to the product. Once again, the consumer is the main beneficiary of the process. It has even proceeded to withdraw product, thanks to the control of the European test.

  • Obviously manufacturers are interested in participating in a test where all parents usually go to get informed (because they don't know anything else). Therefore they will accept the standards, although it is not true that manufacturers have not issued criticism. Yes it has been done.

We understand that this type of study generate criticism about the results of the chairs due to the strong commercial competition that exists between the different brands and groups in a sensitive issue such as road safety for children, but we all work for the safety of children. No manufacturer presses or influences the tests. It has never been like this, nor will it ever happen. Any suspicion in this regard would mean the immediate withdrawal of the RACE from the project. 

  • Error. Criticisms are not based on any particular brand, but on the theoretical basis. We again point out that in 2012 the RACE started a campaign on the need for children to travel to the rear as long as possible (approx. 4 years) but they kept giving the best results to the chairs in favor of the march. Do you understand that the criticisms do not Are they aimed at the results by commercial competition? The criticisms are directed that it is not understandable that being safer to travel in the opposite direction you continue to reward chairs that do not meet those requirements.

Although there are many occasions in which we have manifested in this regard, we want to make it very clear (hopefully once and for all) that for RACE child safety is above any commercial activity and it has been for this reason that We have maintained our objective line on the analysis of these products. Only the analytical data can reveal the safety capabilities of a child restraint system, and there is no campaign or parallel research action, launched with third-party companies in Spain, that can make this final qualification contingent.

  • Objective is different from 'coherent'. We believe that the tests are not giving consistent or clear results.

Among the criticisms, in recent studies certain doubts have arisen about the results obtained in the abdominal pressure of the dummies when evaluating models of chairs that use harnesses in front of the chairs that use a frontal shield. At this point, the RACE wants to explain as accurately as possible the results obtained and how to obtain their evaluation according to the different chair models and the restraint systems used to keep the child in the chair in case of accident, eliminating all doubts that may arise. For us, far from assuming this criticism as something negative, we will be happy to answer all questions, since as we have said before, our goal is not the commercialization of any type of product, but our main objective is the road safety of the smallest. And if we are not able to find the answer, we will have the international technicians for it, either through consultation or through a forum on child safety, open to all and in which the different criteria contrary to the test are exposed.

  • The problem is not in discussing whether a chair with a harness is better than a chair with a shield. The problem and focus is in the direction of travel.
  • If you are not assuming this criticism as something negative if not as an opportunity to move forward and continue investigating, why in all this text do I only read words of excuse and find no study that makes me understand that these retention systems may not be harmful? At the moment the information is still what we have provided.

Measuring values in abdominal pressure. The first thing to note is that shock simulation tests are performed on dummies that simulate the conditions of children of different ages. The Q models, used in the European child safety test, are the most modern series of mannequins to investigate the effectiveness of child restraint systems. It is important to note that these models are the most advanced, not only in their biomechanical and anthropometric measurement characteristics, but have also been developed to collect results in cases of frontal and lateral impact, following the latest approval requirements of the R regulations - 129 (I-size). The results obtained in abdominal pressure issues have been questioned in forums and blogs, and for this reason we want to specify the criteria for analysis and measurement of abdominal pressure, in order to clarify the results obtained. In order to evaluate the data obtained, it is necessary to know the technical characteristics of the sensors and what are the characteristics of the measurements. The abdominal sensors are made up of two 50 mm diameter and 140 mm long tubes filled with an oil, located in the abdomen of the dummy (see photo). These sensors are only able to measure the pressure increase due to the amount of oil that travels inside the tube. Therefore, the higher the compressed volume, the greater the pressure perceived by the sensor. In the analysis of abdominal pressure there are two important variables; on the one hand, the depth of the intrusion and on the other, the surface size of the intrusion. For this reason, when the abdominal pressure is analyzed, the sensor values for a harness model are lower than for the shield models, since the pressure surface is greater in the latter case. The injury risk curves and proposed limits were initially developed in the tests for a harness or seatbelt load, and therefore, the data obtained for child restraint systems with shield need further investigation in this regard, such as It is defined in the scientific literature.

  • It is true that the initial development of study  It was based on harnesses but if we take the full text we can see that the text quotes:

'(P. 3) Due to the main loading to the lower rib cage and the abdomen - ie regions that are not very stable or able to sustain large loads - thoracic and abdominal injury risk could be expected to be higher than with harness systems. (...) '

'(...) regions that are not very stable or capable of holding large loads (...) the risk of abdominal injury It could be greater than with harness systems. 

Therefore it is logical to generate doubts.

We know that the abdominal pressure is different according to the retention system, and that the maximum values established refer to the harnesses, the tests apply a penalty to the shields when they exceed 1.5 bar, when the maximum limit for this is not known type of chairs. Therefore, it is not possible to establish a comparison of harmfulness, or even of analysis of the risk values between both retention systems. An increase in the risk of 75% cannot be estimated as they comment, since neither the way of measuring the analysis parameters cannot be compared.

  • Yes there is a maximum limit established by all the studies already presented and by the new regulations R129. That limit is 1.2 bars and everything that exceeds that figure, according to the new regulations, is harmful.
  • As we have shown with the previous study (Johannsen), they do compare and establish that the shield could be more harmful (Remarking that the issue is not a battle that is better if not that the safest way is to travel backwards )

And even knowing that no data can be obtained, nor can it be measured, nor its risk known, it is admitted that the abdominal pressure is higher for the chairs that are equipped with a shield, and therefore, European club cars, if they exceed 1 , 5 bars, assign a reduction in safety levels, penalizing the increase in pressure on this type of chairs. We insist once again: from the clubs participating in the test ONLY, child safety is pursued above all things. We do not defend any type of chair or system in particular, be it shield or harness. We just give the results of the investigations

  • If the risk is definitely known: Reduce one point in a final 'winning' grade. Is it really defending child safety? In some of your answers you have talked about the chairs with shield as 'excellent'. Is a chair that loses points for a security issue excellent?
  • There are back-up retention systems that have suspended for things that have nothing to do with safety directly. How do you explain this?
  • There are studies and tests that admit that these chairs do not have 1, 5 bars of pressure if they reach figures of 1.8 - 2, 1 or 2.7 bars. Which is very far from the 1.2 bar pressure set by the new regulations. (see here)
  • I do not think that you are giving the results of the investigations clearly because, it seems, there were many documents that were not being submitted.

A final conclusion Finally, we want to show that the end of the RACE, and the rest of the automobile clubs and consumer organizations involved in this type of study, is to guarantee the qualities of the products that are marketed and measure the safety of the systems of child retention approved in the market, regardless of brand, model and price. The information that accompanies the evaluation of the chairs in each test, such as informing of the regulatory developments, the use of the chairs, the advances, the anchors of the vehicle, etc., allow all those responsible for the safety of children in a vehicle, potential buyers who are going to make the purchase of an item that in case of traffic accident, have All available information, and with full transparency in your results. Thus, RACE does not recommend a chair model, or brands, or concrete restraint systems above others. We only expose the data obtained, and it is the parents who have to choose the retention systems that best suit their circumstances. 

  • Not all possible information is being delivered since none of the studies we have published appear in the RACE, in its tests or in any of its campaigns. From here we are sure that the Royal Automobile Club of Spain had knowledge of them but has never talked about them. Therefore it does not seem 'transparent'.
  •  The RACE does recommend security systems since these logos and advertising campaigns exist alongside a specific brand. I have not found any similar logo with other brands, nor any similar action with other brands. Although, honestly, it is what interests us least. After all, RACE is still a private company that will have its agreements more or less. That is none of our business.

logo_RACE_Cybex  IMG_0790  Puericultura-Madrid-Stand-de-Cybex-pruebas-de-choque-con-el-RACE

In this sense, We also want to remember that it was the RACE that prompted an investigation in 2012 in which the importance of going in the opposite direction was concluded, a fact that is often forgotten when the RACE's position on the safety of Children aboard vehicles. We were the first in Spain to carry out a scientific investigation, through an independent approved laboratory, in which the effectiveness of this placement was demonstrated. Finally, we do not want to insist that all the criticisms are positive, they require us to try harder, explain better, and if necessary, include improvements in the procedures. Always thinking about the safety of the little ones. From this point, we are open to dialogue, work and explain to any group, company or individual the methods we use in our analysis and essays of child seats in order to clarify such a delicate issue that worries parents so much, always keeping the criteria of objectivity and transparency.

  • Well, with more reason it seems 'incoherent' that for so many years (in those same ones too) the winners of the 'safest chairs' were chairs in favor of the march. Do you understand that it is not logical and that it does not help to believe in the RACE ? It is a clear problem of coherence.

And this is the whole answer, supposedly, technique that RACE promised us. Answer published by 'Mama's laboratory' since they have not wanted to make it public.

But we still don't get technical data to explain if this can happen with our children. These types of systems have been sold for many years and are still in many stores in Spain.

From Mom's laboratory we consider it important that someone responds to these studies:

The SCANDAL of chairs with cushion or front shield

Real cases: Problems in chairs with cushion or shield

More than 100,000 parents look for an answer

Attention: RACE winning car seats have more than a 75% chance of causing serious injuries.



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  1. Flipo ... I mean that their priority is road safety and the chairs they analyze are what the consumer associations tell them because they are the ones that sell the most? Anyway, what a pity that there is so little information on the subject because many people (me until recently too) think that as it comes out in the RACE is buying the best for their children, but already seen the seen ...

  2. yes of course, in 2012 they decided that acm was better but in neon lights if you were looking for information it came out that the safest chair was the cybex pallas2.
    If I had known where to look (the recommendation to look at the RACE is given by pediatricians, who have enough of theirs to detect bronchiolitis) those + 300 € would have invested in a SAFE chair. As I did the moment I found information according to scientific evidence.

    Thank you for your work in this long series of posts. It has been very clarifying. Thank you.

  3. Well, I have a mess! Given the ignorance, I have gone to look at the 2018 RACE report, because I have to buy a car seat, and of course, the safer the better. We had decided on the Britax Romer Dualfix i-Size. Do you think it's a good choice? Thanks in advance. Congratulations on your analysis of the RACE test.

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