The following article has been published in the Daily Mail, and in the interests of childrens safety, we are reproducing the article and asking you to pass it on to anyone who is using the seat.
Britax withdraws latest child car seat after tests find ‘severe weaknesses’ when used by older children
- The Xtensafix, priced at £216, failed tests carried out by experts at Which?
- Manufacturer insists the car seat meets all legal industry standards
- But Britax has offered to exchange and stopped making the current model
- Spokesman said ‘simply meeting legal standards is not what Britax is about’
By SEAN POULTER
PUBLISHED: 20:09, 12 November 2013 | UPDATED: 13:39, 14 November 2013
Britax has revealed the Xtensafix car seat may be exchanged after it failed tests carried out by experts at Which?
Britax has withdrawn its latest hi-tech child car seat – the Xtensafix – amid safety fears.
The hi-tech design, which costs £216, failed tests carried out by experts at the consumer group Which?
The manufacturer insists the product, designed for children from the age of nine months to the point they are big enough for the normal seat, meets all industry standards.
However, it has decided to offer an exchange following a series of stringent tests carried out by consumer groups.
The Xtensafix was one of 16 child car seats tested by ADAC, the German automotive club, for European consumer organisations including Which?
The seat was marketed as being a safety advance in that it includes a five point safety harness, likened to those used by racing drivers.
It also includes padded wings to keep a child secure, a moveable head rest and pads across the chest straps to limit any injury during an impact.
Which? child car seat researcher, Victoria Pearson. said: ‘The Xtensafix looked like an exciting new product that offered a long useful life span and the possibility to use a five-point harness for longer – which was good news for parents with heavier toddlers.
‘But it did not meet all of our high expectations when we got it to our test lab and scored so poorly in one test that we had to rate it as a Don’t Buy.’
The Xtensafix can be used for children between 9-36kg in four different modes, all of which were tested in simulated crash tests.
Which found ‘severe weaknesses in frontal impact safety’ where the adult seatbelt – rather than the five point harness – was used for larger children. In simple terms, a child was in danger of being thrown forward and injuring themselves in a crash.
Miss Pearson said: ‘Our tests are more stringent than the legal standard and Britax was not obliged to withdraw the Xtensafix from sale.
‘So we are really pleased that Britax has taken these disappointing results seriously and has acted fast to remove the Xtensafix from sale and offered to refund or replace seats that have already been purchased.
Manufacturers Britax said the hi-tech car seat, for children aged from nine months, meets all industry legal standards. Which? tests around 35 new child car seats each year and says its independent crash tests are more stringent that the United Nations regulation ECE R44 that car seats must comply with to be sold in the EU.
Its front crash test is carried out at a higher speed than ECE R44 – about 40mph instead of 30mph -and it includes a side impact crash test, which ECE R44 does not require.
Child car seats are tested in a real car body, not on a sledge with a car bench seat fixed to it, so the position of the seat belt anchorage points and car seat characteristics are more realistic.
Britax said: ‘In the test results, the Xtensafix received sufficient scores in all usage modes with the seat’s integrated 5-point harness. However, it received an ‘insufficient’ score from ADAC in usage modes with the vehicle’s adult seat belt.
‘Parents should rest assured, that the Xtensafix has been fully tested, approved and certified in accordance with the legal standards applicable in the European Union (ECE R44/04) and has passed all legally required safety and other tests in all usage modes. ADAC’s opinions and ratings do not change this position.
‘However, simply meeting legal standards is not what Britax is all about and is not what our brand represents. We make premium products, work to very high standards and expect our products to deliver best-in-class performance in the most demanding tests.
‘We have, therefore, taken the decision to stop actively manufacturing and selling the Xtensafix in its current form.’
Britax is offering a full refund or a redeemable store voucher equal to the purchase price paid for parents who return their Xtensafix to the store they bought it from.
Here at the Internet Baby Shop we are anxious that parents who have purchased this car seat are aware of possible problems when using the adult seat belt with this product.
Please pass this article on to any parents/guardians/ childminders etc so that everyone is aware of the potential dangers.