Car safety according to Euro NCAP

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Euro NCAP makes available to consumers independent information about a cars’ comparative safety.

Secondly, Euro NCAP acts as an incentive for manufacturers to improve the safety of their cars. Euro NCAP has been shown to have an important influence in improving road safety. There is evidence that improvements in vehicle safety have led to the greatest reduction in road accident casualties.

Following our theme of child safety in cars the words of wisdom from Euro NCAP are important.
“Has the safety assessment for children changed?

Euro NCAP introduced a separate star rating for child protection valid from November 2003 to January 2009. During this time a car model was shown with a star rating for adult occupant protection, a star rating for child protection and a star rating for pedestrian protection. The child protection rating is for a combination of a car with specific child seats that have been recommended by the car manufacturer.

The combination could earn up to five stars for child protection. The rating depends on the fitting instructions for the child seats, the car’s ability to accommodate them safely and their performance in front and side impact tests. In 2009, Euro NCAP’s new scheme has introduced a new 5-star single overall vehicle safety rating replacing the current separate star ratings in use since 1997. The overall rating will be composed from scores achieved in four areas of assessment Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian Protection and Safety Assist. The technical assessment of child protection under the overall rating system has not changed.

It is important to recognise the following limitations to Euro NCAP child protection assessment:

•    As Euro NCAP tests one combination of car model and child restraint, the child protection score cannot be used for the car alone, nor can it be used for the car with a different combination of child seats

•    The tested child seat alone does not have a child protection score

•    The same child seat tested in combination with other cars may give a different child protection rating.

This new system of scoring for child protection encourages car manufacturers to take responsibility for the carriage of children. However, whatever the child protection rating, it is essential that children are always carried in suitable child restraints

What should I do if my car has airbags?

Never place a rear-facing child restraint on the front passenger seat with an active frontal protection airbag! Some vehicles allow for the passenger airbag to be deactivated, either by a switch located somewhere in the vehicle, or by dealer disconnection. If you are in any doubt about when it is safe to use a rear-facing child seat, consult the vehicle handbook for more information.

Where is the safest place to put a child seat?

The rear seat is the safest position for child restraints. Before installing you child restraint on any seat, it is essential to check that the intended seat position is suitable for use with a child seat. Information on this should be available in the vehicle manufacturer’s handbook.