At Britax, our commitment to improving child safety through research, testing, design, and community advocacy is unparalleled. We engineer our products to exceed the safety standards set by the federal government (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213) for car seats. In fact, Britax conducts twice the number of tests required by NHTSA, as well as side-impact testing for car seats and extended rolling-road and durability testing for strollers. We also continually enhance our products with new technologies that distribute crash forces away from your child during a crash. Some of those technologies include:
- SafeCell Impact Protection is an integrated system of safety components that work together to protect your child well beyond the federal safety standards. Each SafeCell Impact Protection technology has a separate function, but all work together to keep your child safe in your vehicle. Ultimately our products lower your child’s center of gravity and minimize head excursion for the best protection in the event of a crash.
- Multiple Layers of Side Impact Protection - Side impact crashes represent 25 percent of collisions and result in the most severe injuries. We designed Britax car seats with these statistics in mind. That’s why we’re one of the very few companies which offers extra layers of protection in our various products including deep, protective shells, energy-absorbing headrests and side-impact cushions.
- Impact-absorbing base compresses to absorb crash energy and counteract forward movement, keeping your child clear from the seat in front of them.
- V-Shaped-Tether that features a staged-release tether webbing to slow the forward movement, reducing crash forces reaching your child and a two-point attachment to minimize forward rotation while anchoring the top of the child seat
- Energy-Absorbing Side-Impact Cushions on the exterior of the child seat significantly reduce side impact crash energy by diverting crash forces away from your child and providing extra protection for the adjacent passenger
We also test our products both in our own crash-test facilities and through independent parties.
Regulatory Agency Standards
At Britax, we are required to meet the following standards of regulatory agencies:
- FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems)
- FMVSS 302 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Flammability of Interior Materials)
- ASTM F 833 (Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Carriages and Strollers)
- CMVSS 213 (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards)
Keep in mind that we do conduct tests that are not yet required by regulatory agencies, such as side impact testing, and welcome any changes to current federal standards that work toward furthering child safety.
Parents and caregivers can be assured that all Britax products comply with – and often exceed—all current and pending government regulations.The government standard referenced above, FMVSS 302, establishes a flame retardant requirement for car seats, which is intended to prevent harm to occupants in the event of post-accident vehicle fires.
As of January 1, 2013, Britax required all of its suppliers to eliminate certain chemical flame retardants containing bromine, chlorine or other halogens, from all components used in its car seats and all other products — while still ensuring their ability to pass federal government standards for flammability. Britax is pleased to report that all of its suppliers have confirmed they are compliant with Britax’s rigorous internal standards. Strollers do not have flammability standards. Therefore, Britax and BOB strollers are not treated with any chemical flame retardants.
Britax remains committed to working closely with our suppliers to ensure continued leadership in the area of chemical compliance specifications and to informing consumers of our progress. In a recent report, the Ecology Center, (HealthyStuff.org), tested the chemical composition of leading car seats to discover the presence of harmful chemicals. The Britax seats tested were by far the safest of any brand, leading HealthyStuff.org to designate Britax the “Best Overall Child Seat Company” as the gold standard for chemical compliance.
Development Tools & Tests
Some of the development tools that we use and tests that we conduct at Britax include:
Virtual Simulation involves digitally created car seat models and anthropomorphic testing devices (ATDs or child crash-test dummies). Computer crash-test programs simulate the dynamic behavior of physical systems involved in a collision and assess the injuries sustained by the occupant. Before these virtual tests can be conducted, engineers must create digital car seat models using anthropometric data, which help determine overall seat dimensions and harness slot heights and locations. The purpose of Virtual Simulation is to help engineers optimize design parameters before making physical models to test.
Dynamic Crash Tests (Frontal Impact)
As required by FMVSS 213, car seats must meet certain specifications when subjected to frontal impact sled tests simulating crashes at 30 mph. FMVSS 213 requires a standardized seat assembly, which is representative of a vehicle seat, and ATDs that represent children of various sizes. The test results help engineers to establish compliance with the performance requirements as per the FMVSS 213 regulation.
The performance of the prototype seats is evaluated using two criteria:
- Motion Limits
- Acceleration Limits
Data obtained during these tests include:
- Head and knee excursion
- Head and chest accelerations
These crash tests are taped with high speed cameras (1000 frames per second) in order for engineers to carefully observe the results in slow motion.
Side Impact Testing
Currently, the US does not have federal regulatory standards for testing car seats for side-impact protection. In lieu of a federally regulated side impact testing standard, Britax has created a rigorous testing regime that simulates side impact crashes based on proven European test methods. Britax car seats are evaluated on how well they contain the head and minimize head, chest and pelvis acceleration.
Vibration Testing evaluates vibrations being transferred to the occupant through the car seat. The goal is to create a car seat that is just as comfortable as a vehicle seat for adults and minimize the amount of vibrations that are transferred through the seat belt system.
Pendulum Testing is used to evaluate performance of individual components and as a quality inspection tool. The energy to which components are subjected during a pendulum test is correlated to the energy that the subject receives on a simulated crash sled test.
At Britax we realize the importance of each component of the seat and how they contribute to the protection that the seat provides for your child. In order to ensure that each component maintains its structural integrity throughout the life of your child seat we invest more than 150 hours testing individual components on each product. Tests conducted include:
- Static buckle and harness testing
- Micro slip testing
- Harness webbing strength testing
- Buckle durability cycling
- LATCH hook strength
- Environmental testing – testing components in extreme environmental conditions including heat, cold and varying humidity levels
Britax employs caregivers throughout the US to test products in real-life situations. The majority of market research is completed during the design process. We also feel it is very important to continue post production market research in order to gauge how the product is received and learn more about the areas in which we can improve.