A top of the range children’s car seat has epically failed a crash test, ejecting the dummy toddler, with experts saying it would have been like that in a real road crash.

The test, undertaken by independent non-profit Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP), shows the straps of the child restraint actually releasing upon impact in a crash of 56km/h. The dummy flies head over heals in a somersault through the air.

In the Company’s 25 years of crash tests, this is the first time a dummy has been ejected.

Priced at $629, the Joie I-Travvel Car Seat was subjected to two tests – one forward facing, and one rear facing.

It failed the test when the seat was in ISOFIX forward-facing mode. Scoring one star given the dummy was ejected forward at the moment of impact.

When the seat was rear facing, it scored four stars in the CREP testing.

According to Nine’s Today Show, it is understood that the manufacturer was aware of the problems but failed to remove or recall models before November last year.

Child Restraint Failure

A child car seat has performed so catastrophically in crash testing that the NRMA has been forced to issue a warning to Australia's product quality watchdog. #9Today

Posted by TODAY on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

 

Either way, ejected out of your car seat is a no go.

The CREP program tests the safety of car seats at 56km/h, reflecting more rigorous and real driving conditions. All car seats tested meet Australian standards, which evaluate restraints in tests at 49km/h.

Dimitra Vlahomitros, Road Safety Expert at NRMA agrees that a child restraint that doesn’t secure a dummy just doesn’t cut it.

“The results were unprecedented, shocking and the outcome could be catastrophic”  she said.

“This is the first time a restraint failed to the extent that the dummy was ejected. Choosing the correct child seat could be a lifesaving decision so it is critical parents make their purchase based on performance and ease of use rather than price or aesthetics.

“Any parent looking at the footage of a crash test wouldn’t have any comfort that a child would be restrained and survive a crash. That’s what parents demand: That a restraint should restrain a child and save his or her life,” Ms Vlahomitros said.

“These tests demonstrate once again that not all car seats are created equal and the manufacturer needs to lift its game.”

The Joie i-Travvel has been on the market since last April. Ms Vlahomitros raised concern that parents who purchased the  Joie car seat and used in rear-facing mode when their babies were newborn would be at the point where they could be ready to turn the car seat around to forward-facing mode.

The results were so shocking that CREP revised its test protocols to introduce a zero rating. It has also notified the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Standards Australia.

The CREP program conducts regular tests of new models of children’s car restraints.

The Joie i-Gemm Infant Capsules – manufactured by the same company, Bright Children’s Products Co Limited – was recalled late last year. Its top tether strap may release under excessive load, potentially injuring a child.

No comment was available from the manufacturer of Joie on Tuesday.

The car seat after the testing showing broken belts and base. Source: CREP

Christine Erskine, executive officer of Kidsafe NSW, said the CREP partners, including Kidsafe and NRMA, have a moral responsibility to inform parents and carers of the seriousness of the results.

“The Joie i-Travvel (ISOFIX mode) is still available and we urge the manufacturer to ensure that all their products are completely safe in all modes and meet community expectations. This must include car seats currently in use by unsuspecting families.”

The other five car seats tested in this round also recorded disappointing results. Not one restraint scored five stars; only two car seats scored four stars.

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