Baby seats and booster seats in cars are designed to do one thing: make it safe for your young child to ride in a vehicle that is designed primarily for adults. They have to fit snugly into the seat, connect up to it via a belt system and most of all, not make your child less safe than if you didn’t bother at all. Unfortunately that’s what the Babystart Multi-Recline child car seat is doing and understandably so, many groups are suggesting parents don’t use it at all.
The big news comes from Which? which recently tested the seat and found it wonting, giving it the lowest possible score on many of its tests. And by lowest, we mean lowest, as in 0 per cent.
During several crash tests, Which? discovered that the Multi-Recline seat’s should straps were ripped out of the plastic shell, which itself broke under the force of the impact. As the publication points out, if this were to happen in real life, a baby in the back of the car would be sent flying into the seat in front, while their lower half would stay strapped in. This not only risks damage to the head and face, but possible contortions of the spine due too half of their body being pinned in place.
The seat faired a little better when placed in reverse, but they still weren’t impressive, with the Multi-Recline scoring just 33 per cent.
On top of that, the seat wasn’t even easy to install. The seat section itself has a flat base, which isn’t very common among most vehicles, so it doesn’t sit snugly in the seat and it’s difficult to get the adult seatbelt to lock it in place. The belt routing areas were also only highlighted with stickers, which could be easily lost, leaving a parent who hasn’t installed the seat before in a position where it would be easy to install the seat incorrectly, resulting in even less adequate protection for the child.
What’s perhaps most worrying though, is despite this rigorous testing finding plenty of problems with the Multi-Recline seat, it was given the go ahead for sale by the ECE R44/04 to be sold as a suitable safety seat. That says more about the regulatory body’s testing practices than it does about the manufacturers and suggests that when it comes to buying a baby seat, it’s always important to check independent testing.
The only plus point about this whole story is that the manufacturers have pulled the seat and no retailers are selling it. However, the danger is that parents looking to save a bit of money might pick one up on ebay or through a classified ad, not knowing that the seat is potentially dangerous.
Make sure if you know a parent that’s considering this seat or already has one, that you let them know of its potential safety concerns.