A system in the wings

* Limited info for buyers * Cheaper seats could be safer * New tests at a standstill...

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What Car? Staff
06 June 2009

A system in the wings

A system in the wings

This clearly isn't ideal, so the Department for Transport (DfT) spent more than 500,000 getting the Transport Research Laboratory to develop a Europe-wide crash test and rating system.

Signed off last September, the New Programme for the Assessment of Child-restraint Systems (NPACS) includes a crash test and an ease-of-use rating.

The ease-of-use component is crucial child seat manufacturer Britax reckons that 63% of seats in the UK are fitted incorrectly, and even the safest won't do its job if it's not fitted properly.

Unfortunately, the programme appears to have ground to a halt because no one wants to pay for the tests. Mason told What Car? that, in meetings he had with the DfT and the seat manufacturers, the seat makers said they would stump up the money.

Andrew Ratcliffe, managing director of Dorel, which makes Maxi-Cosi seats, has a different view. 'I understood that the DfT would pay for a range of seats to be tested and give the programme some credibility.

'At that point, the major seat manufacturers would have to pay for tests on new seats to be part of the programme, and we would willingly do that.'