Child seats cheaper could be safer

* Don't assume expense equals safety * Cheap seats can outperform costly alternatives * First results in new rating scheme due this year...

Child seats  cheaper could be safer

Cheap child seats can give your children more protection than models costing twice as much, according to preliminary tests by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

Using its newly developed five-star Child Seat Rating Scheme, which involves crash-testing seats and assessing their ease of use, TRL gave a seat costing 39.99 a four-star rating and another costing 89.95 just one star.

While a one-star seat still meets the United Nations ECE R44 regulation required for sale, a five-star seat 'delivers exceptional performance in safety and usability' says TRL.

None of the seats in TRL's preliminary tests have been named because the results are designed to show how the rating system will work when it is rolled out later this year.

The test will make comparative point-of-sale information showing the relative performance of seats available in shops for the first time.

The test puts each seat through a frontal and a side impact, and also evaluates how easy they are to use, because an incorrectly fitted seat offers less protection.

TRL's demonstration tests were all carried out on typical entry-level Group 0+ seats for infants costing 100 or less. The first official results are expected to be announced later this year.

How the seats compared
Seat A
Seat B
Seat C
Seat D
Seat E
Seat FPrice paid
89.95Star rating awarded