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In Germany almost every second child in the car is not properly secured. Most parents do not know about these dangers. An impact at just 15 km / h has devastating consequences for the small passengers. The ideal child seat fits the age, size and weight of a child. He brings along the necessary padding on the sides, on the head, on the hips and on the back, without restricting the ride comfort and the comfort. Last but not least, securing with a smooth 5-point harness ensures comprehensive protection for toddlers and babies.
In the compact child seat comparison on STERN.de we present you the leading car seats and their advantages. You will learn more about the installation, the safety features and the child seat group. What are ISOFIX car seats? What do we mean by i-size and what should you look for when buying? We deliver the answers. Find out how to find the right child seat, what size fits your child and how to attach the seat to the vehicle in our guide.
Since when are there child seats?
“Click first – then start”. In Germany, since 1976, the seat belt for the front passenger car seats. Eight years later, the seatbelt obligation for passengers in the back seat follows. The first child seat came out in 1963. The company Storchenmühle launched their “Nicki” on the market to make driving safer for children. In 1989, the first reboarder was added and since 2001 there is the practical Isofix fastening system.
The most important thing about the child seat and the Highway Code
Each child should be protected up to a height of 1.50 meters and up to the age of 12 by a child seat in the vehicle. The adult belt on the car seat would not provide adequate protection. The optimal child seats bring a side impact protection and a special backrest. Whether with parents, relatives or friends: Each child must be secured on short distances by an approved child seat.
When child seat instead of baby seat?
If you want to transport newborn babies in the car, you need specialized child seats. The baby bowls, which often reach up to 9 kilograms from the first month of life, usually make the start. A change is recommended as soon as you want an upright seating position. In the first child seat group you start with 9 kilograms – from about 9-10 months. You should definitely opt for a child car seat that grows up with you. This ensures a long lifetime over years. Since an initially high price paid in the long run.
Which child seats and car seats are best?
When purchasing, first pay attention to the permissible certificates, such as the ECE test number. This begins with ECE R 44/03 or 04. You will find this test number on the ECE badge directly on the child seat. In this way, you can be sure at first glance that it is a model that meets common safety standards. Since 2008 you can only transport children in the designated child seats. Otherwise, you pay a Verwarngeld of 30 euros.
The crucial accessories include extras that stand out in the child seats comparison on STERN.de, such as
- Headrest and neck support,
- Sunscreen for the window ,
- Protection for the backseat,
- Cup holder and
Child seat purchase: Which size to choose?
Parallel to the current R44 regulation, the i-size child seats have been developed on the basis of the regulation in the summer of 2013. By this we mean a new European i-Size regulation that should simplify the safety of children in the car. In the context of the current i-size standard, backward driving is mandatory for all children up to 15 months. Based on this regulation, the focus is no longer on the weight, but on the size of the children to find the right child seat.
Within this regulation, the ISOFIX system comes into play. This reduces the risk that the child seat could be incorrectly installed in the vehicle. Children can basically be transported up to a height of 105 cm backwards. Afterwards, the parents have the option to move the seat in the other direction. This requires an additional designation RF, which stands for “rearfacing”.
Advantages and disadvantages of child seats:
- For children up to 12 years available
- With extra side impact protection
- Adjustable headrest
- Ergonomic backrest
- Removable cover washable at 30 degrees Celsius
- ISOFIX bracket in the car
- 5-point harness for secure attachment
- Fitting child seats take up a lot of space
- High price for car seats
- Partly awkward in handling
Professionals advise: Which child seats are allowed?
In terms of traffic safety only tested child seats are allowed in traffic. They are designed to protect the youngest from serious injuries in the abdomen and neck as well as in the neck area. The best child seats absorb sudden energy effects and divert them via the material. Since the 1970s, the Federal Highway Research Institute has been documenting the safety rates and the use of child seats.
Fortunately, a safe transport in 2015 is 99%, which marks a particularly high value. The Highway Code states in paragraph 21 that every child up to the age of 12 and under a body height of 150 cm must be transported in a special restraint. A basis is the above mentioned standards and groupings for the matching child seats and a safe purchase decision.
When purchasing, you should pay attention to the ECE test standards and to the sticker, which in turn provides the following information:
- European child seat test standard
- Approved use: vehicle specific or universal
- body weight
- European identifier – 1 stands for “tested in Germany”
- Test number
- Manufacturer of the child seat
What weighs a child seat on average?
In the child seat comparison on STERN.de the growing car seats came to a considerably higher weight than the models, which belonged to a special norm group. The reason is a wide fuse and high durability. So the shell has to adapt again and again to the changing body size. That costs material. Most child seats oscillate between 5 and 7 kilograms.
How to adjust the child seat correctly +++
Before going on the first tours, you must first install the child seat correctly and adapt it to the size of your child. Be sure to take your time and do not risk the patience of your children. This is best done right after the purchase. First, try to install the seat in the car without a child, and then adjust it to the size of the small rider. The above models and child seats in direct comparison all provide a German-language installation instructions, which significantly simplifies commissioning. Depending on which components can be adjusted, you change
- the headrest,
- the backrest and
- the width as well
- the straps,
which you adjust to the proportions and not too tight.
How to clean the car seat
Be sure to pay attention to a removable cover when buying. The textiles of the best models can all be cleaned at about 30-40 ° C in the washing machine and can make so quickly forget about blobs on the go. In addition, it may be useful to order a change purchase or a replacement for the summer and winter right along with. So you always hold a cover in your hands when the other is in the wash. If the textiles are only slightly soiled, it may be sufficient to use a damp cloth or a cloth to remove the crumbs and rub off a stain.
What does the Stiftung Warentest say in the child car seat test?
The last car seat test dates back to 2019. As you can see here in detail , 31 new child seats were last checked in May of the year 2019. All in all, there are already proud 491 car seats that Stiftung Warentest has examined in recent years. Of these, 248 are currently available. One of the biggest drawbacks of growing child seats is their large body that has been built for many years.
So consumers often have to make compromises in handling. In addition, most trays are very bulky when it comes to installing them in the car. That may be one reason why many of the all-rounders are not getting such good grades. For the little ones, the baby bowls are much more handy and practical. They are also equipped with a handle and can be transported from the house to the car and back without your baby being aware of it.
In the child seat test, models have failed in recent years, among other things, as a result of the continuous load, individual brackets were released. A positive extra of the manufacturers is, for example, a free repair under warranty. For many parents, not least the service and the advice make a significant impact, which comes into play when buying. A lack of an Isofix option did not always have a major impact on the overall rating. The testers were primarily about
- the security,
- the stability,
- the abandonment of pollutants and
- the user comfort.
Is there a child seat test among the pros of Öko Test?
The current car seat test Öko Test goes back to the year 2018 . The pros recommend a position of the children in the middle of the back seat. Here they are farthest from a possible point of impact. Unfortunately, most car models fail because they do not provide secure attachment at this point. For example, the ADAC advises to install the child seat behind the front passenger, since, according to statistics, the direct driver side on the opposite lane is more frequently involved in accidents.
In addition, getting in and out is much safer at this point. Finally, it takes place on the side facing away from traffic. Three seats got a good rating. They were able to convince in terms of safety and ergonomics, even if the testers often criticized the practicality. Especially in the first assembly many models are probably a bit awkward. Here, the parents must definitely plan enough time.
Another extremely problematic category was that of the ingredients. Anyone who has already looked at a few other tests on the website of Öko Test, will know that the testers put special emphasis on it. Unfortunately, some of the components also contained pro cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – PAK for short. To be on the safe side, the new covers should first be cleaned in the washing machine before they are used.