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Are booster seats safe for children?

Are booster seats safe for children?


According to the existing Spanish legislation with respect to child seats in vehicles, once a child is over 135cm in height, they can travel using either the seatbelt or a child restraining system (CRS). With the idea of avoiding the seatbelt from catching on the child’s neck sometimes parents opt for a booster seat, which adds a few centimeters to their height. Are these booster seats really safe?

It must be said that although they are permitted within the law and improve the performance of the seatbelt, in a lateral collision our children could be exposed to injury, above all to the head, owing to the fact that vehicles are not designed to protect children of their size.

The passive design elements (those that come into play after an accident to minimize the effects) are designed for adults who are both heavier and taller. The crash testing carried out using dummies (dummies that simulate the injuries a person would suffer in an accident) use standard measurements for both men and women to protect the vital parts of the body such as the head and the thorax in a collision.

Since the head and the extremities are not at the same height with respect to the roof and the sides of the vehicle, as children much smaller. This is why one of the major advances in lateral impact protection, the side airbag, does not function correctly. It is likely that in a crash the child’s head will hit an area unprotected by the airbag and could hit the car door or something else that could cause injury

In the following video you can see how the curtain airbags work together with the lateral airbags and how they protect the head at a certain height, but not below it. Forget the seat airbags because they are not installed in the rear of the vehicle.

On the contrary, child-restraining systems create a protective space preventing the head and the shoulders from hitting any solid parts of the vehicle. They have their own lateral headrests, which limit movement of the head in a side impact collision and also serve to cushion the head. They also lift the child; so that after an accident when the curtain airbag has fired, the seat helps to absorb the airbag and so reduce it’s speed progressively providing much better protection than a simple booster cushion.

In the following video we can see how a dummy only shows minimal movement when using a CRS in a lateral collision and is completely protected from possible injury.

The seats sold, described as Group II and III, cover between 18 and 36 kilos, children from about 4 to 12 years old. When your child reaches the end of their use, they will be approximately 150cm tall, which is when they will be completely protected by the car seatbelt. The investment in one of these seat is always is worthwhile since it will be used for around eight years (from 4 to 12) and the benefits far outweigh the cost. Who can put a Price on the safety of our children?

For more information on CRS legislation go to child safety.

Por el contrario, los sistemas de retención infantil crean un espacio de protección para el niño en el que la cabeza y los hombros permanecen a salvo de golpes contra otras partes del vehículo. Cuentan con sus propias orejetas que limitan el movimiento de cabeza en impactos laterales y además sirven de barrera de protección.
Incluso en conjunto, elevan al niño de forma que después del impacto y el disparo del airbag de cortinilla, la silla se favorecerá del efecto de absorción del airbag para reducir su velocidad de una forma más progresiva y, por lo tanto, protegerán mucho más que un simple alzador.
En el siguiente vídeo podemos ver como un dummie instalado en un SRI infantil minimiza su desplazamiento tras un impacto lateral, protegiéndolo perfectamente ante posibles lesiones.

En el mercado, las sillas denominadas Grupo II y Grupo III cubren entre los 18 y los 36 kilos y edades comprendidas desde los 4 a los 12 años. Justo cuando el niño llega al final de su uso, estará muy próximo al 1,5 m de altura, lo que permite ya ir perfectamente protegido en el asiento por los sistemas de seguridad pasiva del vehículo.
Pensemos que la inversión que hacemos por una de estas sillas queda perfectamente amortizada ya que lo usará hasta un total de 8 años (de los 4 a los 12), por lo que el beneficio compensa enormemente el gasto. En cualquier caso, ¿quién puede poner precio a la seguridad de nuestros hijos?
Podéis consultar más información sobre la legislación de los SRI en Seguridad Infantil

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