A test says more than a thousand words. This applies especially to products whose function is to provide reliable protection for children. Here we present the most common types of child car seat test:
A child car seat must conform to the ECE standard R-44/03 or R-44/04. Currently child car seats with the test label “tested and approved according to ECE R-44/04” conform to the highest safety standards. This standard is subject to stringent approval requirements and guarantees the best possible safety. However, the criteria and crash tests of these mandatory homologation tests represent only a legal minimum requirement.
In contrast to the mandatory tests required by law for child car seats, the requirements of consumer tests are usually considerably more demanding.
For example, the crash tests carried out every year by a consortium of consumer protection and automotive associations (Stiftung Warentest, ADAC, ÖAMTC, TCS, RACE, ANWB, Test-Aankoop etc.) are much tougher than the homologation tests required by law. Here every child car seat undergoes several crash simulations (frontal and side-impact) involving considerably greater force. The safety of the seat construction is assessed and combination child restraint systems that grow with the child, e.g. Group I/II/III car seats are tested with different-sized dummies. What’s more, the seats are tested for ease of handling in different vehicle types and for the risk of incorrect use. The child’s comfort is also not forgotten: experts assess the leg support, padding and visibility as well as the amount of room for the child. Since 2011, as a result of scares surrounding earlier tests on toys, balance bikes, high-chairs and prams, the car seats are now also tested for toxic substances such as plasticizers (phthalate), problematic flame retardants and formaldehyde. The testing criteria and valuations are clearly defined. Accident safety and handling/ergonomics make up 50% of the overall quality valuation respectively. If toxic substances are found, this usually leads to a depreciation of the child car seat.
The child car seat tests carried out by WHICH?, the biggest independent consumer organisation in the United Kingdom are based on similar criteria to the tests carried out by Stiftung Warentest and ADAC in Germany. Safety and performance in frontal and side-impact collisions as well as seat design comprise about 60% of the overall valuation. The other 40% relates to user-friendliness (installation, incorrect use, comfort, cleaning and workmanship).
Only the newest models are tested in consumer tests. The results of recent years therefore provide a good basis for comparison. Consumer tests provide a valuable overview of the safety performance of the different products and are extremely helpful when making a purchasing decision. However, you should not make a purchase decision based on the test results alone; you should always try fitting the child seat into your car, ideally with your child.
Several specialist magazines such as Autobild.de also carry out child car seat tests. These tests are primarily focused on ease of handling and rarely involve crash tests.
CYBEX carries out hundreds of crash tests a year, because each new test results in the immediate improvement and further development of the products, which always exceed the legal safety requirements. It is no coincidence that the child car seats in our current collection achieved – without exception – good and very good results in the most important European safety tests. CYBEX’s continual striving for improvement and technical perfection in the field of child safety has resulted in many pioneering innovations and the registration of numerous patents.
For further information about the test results and awards of our CYBEX child car seats please visit
YOUR CYBEX CHILD SAFETY TEAM