Children up to the height of 150cm must be restrained.
At present the legal requirement is that children up to the age of four years must sit in approved child seats, while larger children must be restrained with the safety equipment fitted in the car, i.e. at least a two or three-point seat belt.
From May 2006 the law requires children up to a height of 135cm to use approved safety fittings appropriate to the child’s weight.
Children between 135 and 150cm must be restrained in approved safety fittings if they are installed in the car. If there are no special fittings in the car, the normal belts installed in the car must be used.
Children must not be transported in rearward-facing children’s car seats on front seats where air-bags are fitted. Seats with airbags that are deactivated manually or automatically are allowed.
HTS BeSafe takes a very positive view of the new law, although it came into force at short notice for parents of children aged over four years. This change in the regulations will bring considerable improvements in car safety for children in the three to four-year-old group and up to ten.
On the other hand we question the connection between the legal requirement for children up to heights of 135cm and 150cm to be secured and the requirements for approval of children’s car seats.
The European standard UN ECE 44.03 or 44.04 for tests and approval of child car seats sets the limits for the child’s height and a maximum weight of 36kg.
In our experience, a child who is 150cm tall will be about 12 years old and on average weigh at least 40 kg. The new law will consequently raise problems for parents with children who are 135cm tall and weigh over 36kg.
As a manufacturer of children’s seats, HTS BeSafe cannot recommend the use of our seats for children who are heavier than the weight for which the seat is approved. This may also have consequences for product liability and liability insurance.
Deactivating the airbag on the passenger side of the car.
For a considerable time, the technical safety of deactivated airbags has been a subject of discussion.
Against this background, parents have been advised to install rearward-facing child seats on the back seat of the car. However, space is then limited in relation to the front seat, whereby installation is more difficult and the child’s comfort is reduced. Parents are therefore likely to turn the seat round to a forward-facing position far too early resulting in reduced safety compared to rearward facing seats .
The same tendency has been observed in Sweden. The Swedish authorities have consequently confirmed this week that deactivated airbags do not constitute a danger, stating additionally that the child’s safety in a rearward-facing seat on the front or back seat is equally high. This applies only if the airbag has been deactivated.
According to a press announcement from NTF, the Swedish National Society for Road Safety, they support this view together with Volvo, VW, Audi, Opel, Peugeot, the Swedish Road Administration and the insurance company, Folksam.
HTS BeSafe can confirm that installing and using rearward-facing child car seats on the back seat of a car can cause considerable difficulty. On the front seat there is far more space, and installation is easier. There is also far better contact between the child and the parent than when the child seat is installed on the back seat. This too can be a factor leading to increased safety.
Krøderen, 28 April 2006
Frank D. Lilleheil
Tel.: +47 90038969
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