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Child bike seats tested: Safety is not a question of price

Child bike seats tested: Safety is not a question of price
Child bike seats tested: Safety is not a question of price

Sport and fun combined: Families in particular often and happily use their bicycles for excursions.

Sport and fun combined: Families in particular often and happily use bicycles for trips. If the route is too demanding or the children are too young to pedal themselves, bicycle child seats are one option for taking them along. Reason enough for the ÖAMTC and its partner organizations to examine eight current models in detail. Important: In Austria, under current law, only seats that are firmly attached to the frame are permitted, so the testers mainly focused on such products.

“Even if there is room for improvement in some areas, the results are positive overall,” summarizes ÖAMTC technician Steffan Kerbl. “Four of the eight seats tested achieved a ‘good’ rating, three were rated ‘satisfactory’ and only one model failed.” The tests were carried out in the categories of assembly, handling and driving, comfort, safety and workmanship, and a check was also carried out for harmful substances. As usual, all of the seats tested met the legal minimum standards for approval. However, the tests are much stricter and are intended to support consumers in their purchasing decisions.

“Security is not a question of price”

What is particularly pleasing for Kerbl is that “safety is – at least in this case – not a question of price: the best models in the test come from Ok Baby and Bellilli and some cost well under 100 euros – the seats in the back row are much more expensive. So if you need a child bike seat, you shouldn’t go primarily by price.”

In addition to the above-mentioned products from Okay baby (10+) and Bellilli (Mr Fox Relax) also cut the seats of bobike (Go Maxi Frame) and Urban iki (Mosu Green + Bincho Black) with “good”. “You can’t go wrong with any of these models. If you have several of them on your shortlist, you should – as with car child seats – go to a specialist retailer and get advice. Ideally, you should take a short test drive with the child straight away.”

  • Read also: ÖAMTC child seat test: Serious safety defects in one model

The only “not sufficient” was given to the Qibbel Air Kerbl: “During the pollutant test, various PAHs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are suspected of being carcinogenic, were found in the belt padding.” The seat also showed weaknesses in terms of accident protection: in the test, the footrest broke after a few seconds under a load of 22 kilograms. “Without these two defects, it would probably have been good enough for a ‘good’ rating.”

Seat must be firmly attached to the frame

In Austria, regulations apply to child bike seats that differ in part from other countries, including the rule that the seat must be firmly attached to the frame. According to the BMK, the luggage rack is not part of the frame. The child seat test was carried out at an international level – therefore, eight seats from the same manufacturers that are suitable for mounting on the luggage rack were also tested.

Although these seats are not permitted in Austria, the test results show that there are advantages in handling, while safety is at a similar level. “We would welcome a new regulation by the legislature here. On the one hand, because our test actually did not show any safety deficiencies in the seats themselves. On the other hand, a lot has happened in recent years with regard to bicycles and luggage racks, so that safe installation, with the luggage rack having the appropriate load capacity, is no longer a problem today,” says ÖAMTC lawyer Eva Unger.

Tips for families

  • From time to time, you should also take a look at the belts during a journey and tighten them if they have become loose – e.g. on uneven roads.
  • Visit a specialist retailer: In most cases, the assembly process is well described, but if you are unsure, you should ask the retailer to show you how it works. Drivers and children can also try out the seats there and often even take a test drive. This is also important so that you can practice parking and getting off together at least once.
  • Wear a bicycle helmet: It is recommended that both the child and the parent wear a helmet when trying out the bike – so that the child does not even want to ride without head protection. Children are required to wear helmets anyway, regardless of whether they are riding themselves or are being transported in a child seat.
  • First attempts at driving should always be made in safe terrain, because driving with a child seat can be very unusual. Above all, the shift in the center of gravity means that the front wheel has little grip on the ground.

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