Child car seats are essential safety elements for the well-being of young children. With every new generation of child seats, the overall safety of young children increases. Thanks to the ECE R44/04 and the current i-Size (ECE R129) standards, we have a firm basis that ensures minimum quality standards.
This is, ultimately, what is most important: having an adequate approval system that serves to assure the consumer that they are going to be purchasing a good quality seat which adheres to important minimum safety standards. That is to say, the consumer will be able to purchase a child restraint system that they can trust will keep their children safe. Problems arise in the countries that do not have any approval regulations and where the child car seats on sale not only fail to adequately protect them, but in some specific cases do not protect them at all.
This happens, to a certain extent, and depending on each specific country, in Latin America.It is worth taking a look at the infographic we publish on regulations on child restraint systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, which gives us an idea of what the situation is like in some countries. The legislation is constantly evolving, although there are countries with very poor legislation on child restraint systems and, therefore, insufficient and inadequate approval systems. Sometimes it is even completely non-existent.
Nevertheless, things are headed in the right direction, as reflected in the article entitled “Child car seats on sale in Latin America and the Caribbean undergo safety tests”, in the PESRI program, founded by members such as Global NCAP, ICRT, Fundación Gonzalo Rodríguez (Uruguay), ProTeste (Brazil), ODECU (Chile), El Poder del Consumidor (México) and FIA Región IV.
There is, however, an underlying problem which is that, within the PERSI program, the seats inspected comply with some of the most common approvals worldwide, such as UN-R44, UN-R129, NBR 14400 and FMVSS 123. But this is not enough, because in countries such as Argentina we find child car seats on sale which, although approved, garner very few points when put through serious testing.
14 child car seats that comply with an international approval were analyzed. These seats are marketed in Latin America in a German laboratory, and the results of these tests were very worrying indeed, especially considering that other seats that are not even approved are on sale in that same market.
With a maximum possible rating of 5 stars, “seven of the child car seats only received a single star rating […]. A further four seats achieved a 2-star rating, with the rest receiving 3 stars”. Therefore, not only must the CRS comply with an approval standard, but each country should also have their own laboratories for testing child car seats, and institutions that monitor progress in the child car seat market.