ADAC Tests: Safety Ratings for Car Seats FAQ

My aim here is to show you the best and most trusted safety seat test that is available. This test is made by the ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club e.V. – General German Automobile Club) and millions around the world wait for their latest results every year. First, I am going to tell some information about ADAC and their tests, what they test, how they do it, and then I am going to give some ideas why it is so important to study these results before you purchase a safety seat for your baby (and why you should not even consider buying most of the 3 in 1 buggies or use their safety seats). Finally, there are answers for some questions that I often hear or that I think are important to know. So, let’s get started to check out these safety ratings for car seats.

What is ADAC? What do they do?

ADAC has been the central testing complex of the European automobile clubs since 1997. They carry out several kinds of evaluations and methodical tests regarding safety and mobility. These include the testing of cars, and their components and accessories, as well as motorcycles and bicycles, and even camping vehicles. The tests are all based on objective criteria system and these are mostly stricter than the legal requirements. Only in Europe, about 50 million people are interested in their results every year and the tests have serious impact in the quality of the market and sellings as well. Many of the manufacturers include their products’ ADAC test results in order to prove their safety and quality. One of their most important tests is for passive safety – a crash test for children’s safety seats.

Safety Ratings for Car Seats – What and how do they test?

ADAC has the highest level requirements in children’s safety seats testing. A key element is that the tests are carried out in real-life conditions including both frontal (64 kph / 40 mph) and side (50 kph /31 mph) impact – meaning that they have a stricter criteria compared with the common national regulations which mostly only require test to frontal impact. There are tests available for all weight categories and for the latest technology developments such as the Isofix system or the verification of how customary child restraint systems compare to integrated child seats. Another great element is that all the materials that the children can be in direct contact with are tested for harmful substances.

During the tests different sized dummies were used in each child seat model, testing them both in sitting and resting position if possible. Moreover, these components are also checked:

  • layout of the belt,
  • size adjustment
  • stability on the vehicle seat
  • headrest
  • since 2011:
    • ergonomics (space, seating position and space requirement in the vehicle)
    • all parts that the child can be in direct contact with are tested for pollutants.
  • Installation tests and static tests: in each case in a two- and four-door, current vehicle and in a van.

In 2015 major developments were added to the tests. The importance of this for you is that when you check the test results, make sure you evaluate separately the tests that have been taken since 2015 from the ones in 2014 and the older ones. The reason is that they are only partially comparable. These are the changes which were introduced:

  • Golf VI body for frontal impact tests were changed to Golf VII together with new dummy technology
  • During side impact test, an invading door is used (UN ECE Reg. 129)
  • developments in the criteria of the tests of harmful substances, ergonomics and handling
  • revision of the evaluation and the grade calculation, meaning that if anything from the important criteria gets bad rating than now it causes a gradual devaluation of the ADAC judgment

You can directly compare these test: 2011-2014 and the ones from 2015 because the requirements became a bit higher.

Why is it very important to choose an ADAC tested seat for your baby?

As mentioned above ADAC is among the highest quality tests regarding safety. Buying a child seat model that they have tested and proved to be a quality product can save your baby’s life in an accident. There are several very cheap seats even in big stores or the ones that you get with your 3 in 1 buggy. These are made lightweight so mums can carry their children easily in them. But if they are so lightweight, do you really think it will protect your baby from anything at all? Most of these seats have some serious deficiency regarding safety or in the pollutant testing. Seat raisers that do not have proper back and / head support will not secure in case of a side impact.

Can I buy not tested safety seats? Are they not the same?

Yes, of course you can buy other safety seats. There are a million different types out there that you can choose from. They might be as good as the ones which are tested and got a good result. Who knows? Or do you know? Do you really want to find out by yourself with your baby being in the seat if it can really protect if something happens? I read about a seat that broke into two during a test. Well, I would never ever play Russian roulette with my children’s life. I want to know, that they are always safe in their seats. As a mother i have to make sure that the type of seats I would choose were tested before so I can put my children in them reducing the risk of harm as much as possible. It is my responsibility towards my children not to be the one who tests.

Your baby – your choice

Consider and verify all the information above before purchasing a safety seat for your kid. Think about your options and the possible outcomes. It might be a bit more expensive but I guess your car was not that cheap either. What I always say is that if I had money for a car then I have to have money to put in proper safety seats for my children as well. You chose to have a baby or more babies. Do not risk. Check the test results and do buy the types that have good results to make sure your kids are as safe as possible while you are on the road.

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