FMVSS 213 compliance testing

ZephyrBlue

New member
So, when shopping for a new seat, which numbers should be the highest priority? HIC? #of g forces applied to the chest? head excursion?

Is it best to average all of the numbers and choose a seat with the lowest overall average, or put more emphasis on one or more criteria?
 
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snowbird25ca

Moderator - CPST Instructor
So, when shopping for a new seat, which numbers should be the highest priority? HIC? #of g forces applied to the chest? head excursion?

Is it best to average all of the numbers and choose a seat with the lowest overall average, or put more emphasis on one or more criteria?
That, in a nutshell, is the reason why actual numerical testing results are useless in the grand scheme of things.

Maybe one measurement is more important in one type of collision than another. Maybe it's better to be closer to the limit rather than farther away from a limit in terms of some areas of measurement. How the difference in #'s relates to a reduction in risk is impossible to state - because in the end every collision involves it's own unique circumstances and forces and every different vehicle contributes to that.

Perhaps in a small space lower head excursion would be preferrable to reduce the likelihood of contact with a vehicle surface. Perhaps in a space with adequate room for head excursion, a seat with #'s closer to the limit would be preferable in some types of high speed collisions to potentially reduce the forces on the neck. Perhaps the weave of some vehicle seatbelts stretches more than others... maybe some stretches less. How does that change head excursion, HIC, and chest G's?

The end result is that individual #'s can't be used to determine a seat that is going to be a best performer in your vehicle and your collision. Because in the end, you can't pick your collision. That's why use and proper fit to child and installation in vehicle is ultimately what's most important. :thumbsup:
 
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snowbird25ca

Moderator - CPST Instructor
I haven't seen much "Britax is best" lately, but I haven't been on the birth boards in years (my youngest is 7 and her bb is well past the carseat buying stage). Since the TF, EFTA, and Radian have come out, the love has been spread pretty evenly, IMO.
I most definitely don't see much in the way of Britax is best around here anymore. I still encounter it a TON at work though. I always get parents to at least consider another brand when at all possible so that they realize there are other options. Some still go with Britax, some don't. But there are still even some co-workers of mine who are convinced Britax is the be-all end-all of seats and everything else is cheap and dangerous. (Yeah, not techs...)

IIRC, the Combi infant seat kept flying off the base in the real cars, but never did on the test bench. It was determined that the shape (or something) of the actual vehicle seat caused the infant seat to perform differently than it did on the sled.
It was determined the reason for detaching in a vehicle test and not the crash sled was because of inertial release when the seat was installed with a lap/shoulder belt. I'm not familiar with what their 2nd bench is, but it could be as simple as one with a lap/shoulder belt added to it.

Been saying this for years, but it is time for a test bench upgrade.
TC is currently in the midst of proposed changes to regulations which will align our test bench with the US test bench with the exception of having a lap/shoulder belt added to it. Perhaps the lap/shoulder belt requirement will push that on to the US test bench too?


For me, the lack of response to particular seat failure is the biggest issue. Whether or not the failures are relevant, I still believe Britax should comment just as I felt the infant seat manufacturers needed to assure parents that their infant seats were safe when consumer reports reported many issues.
I can't say I'm particularly upset about lack of response. I know what it is, so I don't really care if they say it publicly or not.... "Our seats meet and/or exceed all standards." :whistle:

I think what bothers me ultimately is that from a test bench perspective, some seats come so close to failing. I have to believe that a "clear" pass is better than a "barely pass" no matter the seat or weight of dummy...
 

Shilohsmom

New member
The technical jargon is way above my simple mind:eek: Are my kids safe in properly anchored and tethered seats?

16mo, 20lbs, RFing in a BV...anchored and tethered.
3.5yo, 34lbs, FFing in a Safeguard...anchored and tethered.
 
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Pixels

New member
The technical jargon is way about my simple mind:eek: Are my kids safe in properly anchored and tethered seats?

16mo, 20lbs, RFing in a BV...anchored and tethered.
3.5yo, 34lbs, FFing in a Safeguard...anchored and tethered.
Yes, as long as the seat fits the child and is used correctly every single time, no exceptions.
 

amie815

New member
I just need to know if my seat is okay and passes, not just minimally for how I am using it.

We have 2 Marathons. They are both installed rf'ing and tethered. One is in a 98 Honda Civic using just the lap belt in the center rear. The second is in an 03 Chevy Silverado Ext Cab with LATCH in the center rear, and yes the 03 model does have LATCH in the center rear, that has already been asked. Chaeli is 28lbs and 36 1/4 inches and still has plenty of room to rear face. Should I be concerned with the test results for how I am currantly using the seats?

I already know based on the test results that there is no way I would put her in them forward facing and will get new seats once she gets to that point, unless they aren't good for how we are using them now, and then I would look into replacing them now.
 

Evolily

New member
I just need to know if my seat is okay and passes, not just minimally for how I am using it.
All seats on the market pass. You would not own the marathon if it had not passed testing.

The concern about the marathon's performance is primarily focused at larger forward facing children. I don't know of any rear facing concerns.
 

amie815

New member
All seats on the market pass. You would not own the marathon if it had not passed testing.

The concern about the marathon's performance is primarily focused at larger forward facing children. I don't know of any rear facing concerns.
I do know and understand that, but I don't want a seat which passes just minimally, I want one that exceeds the minimum requirements, KWIM? As long as there aren't any concerns with it being using rf'ing then I am okay, I just don't want to use a seat that has any safety concerns. I have been in a major accident before with my then newborn daughter in the car and it scared the heck out of me, so I get a little obsessive when it comes to car seats.
 

SafeDad

CPSDarren - Admin
Staff member
I do know and understand that, but I don't want a seat which passes just minimally, I want one that exceeds the minimum requirements, KWIM? As long as there aren't any concerns with it being using rf'ing then I am okay, I just don't want to use a seat that has any safety concerns. I have been in a major accident before with my then newborn daughter in the car and it scared the heck out of me, so I get a little obsessive when it comes to car seats.
Unfortunately, there simply is no type of testing in North America that gives any reliable comparative crash protection information among child restraints. Aside from purely speculative opinions, there really is nothing more anyone can offer in this regard, unless they happen to have experience on what works well with your vehicle and children.

It would be nice to have a system that rates crash protection similar to what you see for automobiles, but that would practically require an act of Congress and a huge amount of funding. The research and pass/fail certification tests are not controlled or correlated in any manner sufficient to use them to say one seat is safer or less safe than any other. At least not yet.

For now, as it has always been, the best thing you can do is to make sure you are correctly using an age-appropriate child restraint and that it is correctly installed in an acceptable rear seating position. Drive unimpaired and undistracted and those factors will make the risks to your child extremely low, regardless of the model or brand of child seat you are using.
 

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