January 17, 2007

Transport Canada comments on U.S. child car seat testing

Ottawa, Ontario – Transport Canada has responded to a report by U.S. magazine Consumer Reports, which claimed that most infant car seats failed in their new front- and side-crash evaluation tests. Transport Canada says that its collision investigations and data analyses do not support the results obtained by Consumer Reports.

The magazine said that of 12 seats tested, only two performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS (expanded polystyrene). Transport Canada says that only six of the twelve seats tested are officially certified for and marketed in Canada: Graco SnugRide, Peg-Perego Primo Viaggio SIP, Evenflo Embrace V, Graco SafeSeat, Safety 1st Designer 22, and the Combi Centre ST.

Transport Canada does not rate, endorse or approve children’s restraint systems and booster cushions; under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Transport Canada develops and enforces the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Cushions Safety Regulations (RSSR). Certification of compliance to the RSSR is the responsibility of the manufacturer or importer, who must affix the national safety mark – a prescribed label with the Canadian maple leaf – to their products to certify they meet all applicable Canadian requirements in effect on the date of manufacture.

In a statement, Transport Canada says it “would like to reassure the Canadian traveling public that the Department’s selective compliance testing program has not identified any safety issues with the above-referenced Canadian products. Should any compliance or other safety-related issues be identified, Transport Canada would conduct a proactive investigation with the manufacturer or importer to resolve the issues. At this time, Transport Canada has no evidence to suggest a safety issue exists.”

The statement goes onto say that “The Department would also like to make it clear that the testing conducted on behalf of Consumer Reports is not a regulatory requirement in any jurisdiction worldwide. The frontal impact testing as conducted on behalf of Consumer Reports would be deemed to be an extremely rare event. The Canadian regulatory frontal impact test requirement is already representative of a crash scenario that is more severe than 98 per cent of the real-world frontal crashes. The side impact test results as represented by Consumer Reports are not supported by Canadian on-road experience and collision data. Transport Canada is conducting car-to-car side impact testing and is working with international working groups to develop a relevant side impact sled test protocol as well as advanced side impact crash test child dummies. Further, Transport Canada is monitoring child injuries caused by side impacts through its own crash investigation program and through collaborative research programs involving a number of research groups in Canada, the U.S. and internationally.”

Transport Canada says that it is not advisable to purchase a restraint system in the U.S., Europe or elsewhere and use it in Canada, because it does not meet the applicable Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards requirements and it cannot be used legally in any province or territory.

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