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The BBC's Nicola Carslaw
"Thw two [seats] that come out best aren't even on sale in the UK"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 23 May, 2001, 17:20 GMT 18:20 UK
Child safety seats 'fail to protect'
Baby in child seat
Children's lives are being put at risk
Most child car safety seats would fail to protect an infant from potentially serious injuries in the event of a side impact crash, according to new research.

European tests on 25 seats found that all but two were unsatisfactory in protecting against head and neck injuries, with only one of 17 models available in the UK rated as "good".

The results have been described as "worrying" by the Automobile Association (AA), which carried out the tests with a German motoring organisation.

Their fears are fuelled by evidence that one in five of all UK deaths and serious injuries among car occupants is suffered in a side-on collision.

The tests show manufacturers must do more to protect children in side impacts

Andrew Howard, AA

AA head of safety Andrew Howard said: It's clear from this that most of the seats perform well in a frontal crash when properly fitted.

"This is good news, but the tests show manufacturers must do more to protect children in side impacts."

Every year, 205 children under the age of five are seriously injured in car crashes and a further 21 are killed.

Legal shortfall

Manufacturers are obliged to comply with strict safety standards on how seats will perform in frontal impacts, but there is no equivalent legislation for side impacts.

Only manufacturer Chicco's Shuttle model of car seat was found to perform well among those on sale in the UK, although the AA conceded that the study had not incorporated all designs on the market.

Robert Chantry-Price, secretary of the Baby Products Association, which represents car seat suppliers, welcomed the AA's findings, but suggested the motoring organisation should use its expertise to try to resolve the anomaly.

He said: "The problem is not so much the seats, but the way they are secured by seatbelts.

"The AA has highlighted a problem and it should now help to find the solution."

Tests using dummies also showed some seats would fail to prevent children's heads from easily hitting car door frames.

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