Often, we are asked what speed car seats are tested at. This will depend on the regulation to which the car seat is tested. You can read more about the differences between regulations here. Below you will find out more about crash tests.
This is an older regulation, but still current, and many seats available on the market are tested to the ECE R44 standard. This regulation has been around since the 1980s, but the current version was introduced in 2004.
R44/04 tests are carried out using a P-dummy which has 4 sensors. This dummy is put through mandatory frontal and rear testing. The frontal impact testing is conducted at 32 mph, while the rear impact testing is conducted at 18 mph.
This regulation is also commonly referred to as i-Size. This is the newer regulation, introduced in 2015. This regulation was released in 3 phases, all of which are current.
R129 tests are carried out using a Q-dummy which has 32 sensors, which is more advanced and gives us a better idea of what is happening during these crash tests. This dummy is put through mandatory frontal, rear, and side testing. The frontal testing is conducted at 32 mph, the rear testing is conducted at 18 mph, and the additional side testing is conducted at 15 mph.
Swedish Plus Test
Many of our Extended Rear-Facing (ERF) seats have the additional Swedish Plus Test Approval. This test is not mandatory. It is conducted at a higher speed and shorter braking distance than the European standards ECE R44 and R129. This test also measures the forces on the crash test dummy’s neck with sensors, which is why forward-facing car seats are not tested as they present forces that are too high on the neck.
The Swedish Plus Test carries out a frontal impact test at 35 mph using the more advanced Q-dummy. This alongside the use of a shorter braking distance represents a more realistic crash situation.
Independent Consumer Testing
ADAC is a vehicle insurance company that is involved in the promotion of safety and product testing, including Child Car Seats. ADAC cannot test all seats so they will be preselected based on popularity, volume of sales and novelties, such as swivel seats. ADAC use the more advanced Q-dummy and will test above the standard regulations. Their frontal testing is conducted at 40 mph and their side testing is conducted at 31 mph.
While ADAC use Q-dummies, they do not measure the neck loads on this dummy, which is why they also test forward-facing seats, and these seats will sometimes score higher than rear-facing seats. We will always recommend opting for a rear-facing option over a forward-facing option though as they are much safer. You can read more about rear-facing here.
Many of our seats are awarded ADAC scores, and we do not recommend basing your purchase on the likes of ADAC scores, but it can be a good indicator of the quality of the seat. A safe seat may be scored down for things such as how easy the instructions are to follow, or the ease of installing the seat, but that is why we are here and available to help with things like that. We recommend choosing the most suitable seat for your child and your vehicle.