Euro NCAP introduced its Child Occupant rating in November 2003.This rating is based on the evaluation of the manufacturer’s recommended child restraints for an 18-month infant and a 3-year old child.
Euro NCAP safety agency has released results for seven vehicles mostly aimed at families that received maximum ratings in the Child Occupant Protection category.
Though not all are offered in or destined for the South African market, the Audi A4, Hyundai i10, Seat Ibiza, Citroen Berlingo, VW T5 Caravelle, Ford Kuga and Skoda Superb all scored four stars for Child Occupant Protection in the latest round of Euro NCAP testing. This is currently the maximum protection available as a five star scoring still eludes manufacturers.
The agency first introduced its Child Occupant rating in November 2003. This is based on the evaluation of a manufacturer's recommended child restraints for an 18-month infant and three-year old toddler.
The seats are tested in Euro NCAP's frontal and side impact tests and points are scored for the dynamic response of the dummies.
Extra points are awarded for the effectiveness of the labeling and the visual information displayed on the child seat and in the vehicle. This information should be clearly labeled and permanently attached, according to the agency.
Most seats used incorrectly
Euro NCAP noted that while most parents understood the importance of placing their children within restraints, up to 60% of these restraints were not used as intended. This was attributed to incorrect installation of the car seat or harness, or even because the wrong seat was used in the car.
Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP said, "I am happy to see all of the cars in this round of testing have performed well in Child Occupant Protection.
"Children deserve to be as well protected as adults and safety development in this area has not moved on as much as it should have done. Consumers have a responsibility to ensure they fit child seats that are compatible with their vehicle and clearly follow the fitment instructions.
"Euro NCAP believes that ISOFIX is the only solution that can reduce the level of misuse and offer an optimal level of protection. Fortunately, we see more and more manufacturers offering this solution as standard on their vehicles. It is up to consumers to make this safer choice."
Of the seven cars tested, four achieved Euro NCAP's maximum five-star rating for Adult Occupant Protection.
However, despite impending legislation regarding pedestrian safety in Europe, only three of the seven vehicles achieved a three-star rating in this category.