You read about it every summer – and believe that it could never happen to you: children who are left in the car in the sweltering heat and may endanger their lives. According to a Bunte report, a mother from Bancroft, Canada, recently accidentally left her young son (1) alone in the car in the blazing heat. The police forces that were called in were tragically only able to get the dead child out of the vehicle.
In Italy, the legislature is trying to put a stop to such terrible events. Because, despite uniform regulations within the EU, other regulations apply in Italy: In the popular holiday destination, only child seats that are equipped with an alarm system ("Salva Bebè") may be used for children up to four years of age. The alarm inside and outside the vehicle must warn that someone is still in the child seat using suitable visual and acoustic signals or visual and tactile signals. This is to prevent parents from forgetting their child in the car in the stress of everyday life due to carelessness and small children from suffering heat stroke in the car, for example.
If you are caught in Italy without a child seat that complies with the regulations, you risk a fine of between 81 and 326 euros. In addition, according to the automobile club, the driver would be deducted 5 points according to the Italian penalty point system and a driving ban of at least 15 days would be imposed for a further violation within two years.
Does this also apply to vacationers?
The alarm regulation only applies to vehicles registered in Italy. This means that German vacationers who are not resident in Italy and whose vehicle is not registered there do not have to fear any penalties for non-compliance. But beware: If you use a rental car registered there on holiday in Italy, you will need a child seat with an alarm signal – so it is best to pay attention to this when renting.
But not only Italy plays by its own rules when it comes to child seats. Our tip: If you are traveling abroad with children and a car, it is best to find out which regulations apply in your holiday country before you travel. Otherwise you risk a more or less hefty fine if you violate the local rules.
Child seats: see the best deals on Amazon
Child seat regulations: What is the situation in Germany?
EU-wide: Child restraint systems are mandatory for children up to a certain age or height.
In Germany, there is currently no corresponding regulation for child seats with an alarm system. However, according to press reports, the Federal Ministry of Transport recently announced that the Federal Highway Research Institute had been commissioned to investigate the use of appropriate warning systems. However, reliable results are not expected until the end of next year.
Until then, the same applies as has been the case up to now: child seats must protect the children from injury.
In general: Within the EU, a suitable child seat, more precisely: child restraint system (baby seat, child seat, booster seat) – is mandatory for children up to a certain age or height. In Germany, for example, children up to the age of 12 or up to a height of 1.50 m must ride in a child seat that is suitable for their weight and height. In Austria, for example, the age limit is even 14 years – but only if the offspring is not taller than 1.35 m. In France, on the other hand, the age limit is ten years and in the Netherlands, child seats are compulsory for all children under 1.35 m, regardless of age.
And special requirements are also placed on the child seats themselves. Two standards still apply for use in Germany and within the EU: the old EU directive UN ECE Reg. 44/04 or /03 and the latest UN ECE Reg. 129 (also known as i-Size). The older one The R 44/04 standard is based on various weight classes ranging from 0 to 36 kg in five stages. For example, the weight class "O" goes up to 10 kg and refers to infant carriers that are used crosswise or backwards. The more recent i-Size standard, on the other hand, is aimed at body size, which is set by the children's manufacturers themselves. In addition, unlike the approval according to R 44/04, the child seats must pass a side impact test.
26 child seat models tested by the Stiftung Warentest
In June 2022, Stiftung Warentest tested a total of 26 child seat models for newborns, toddlers and children up to a height of 150 cm. In the results, the consumer organization not only listed this year's test candidates, but at the end of the test also the seats tested since May 2020. We have summarized the results for you in the article child seat test: test winner of Stiftung Warentest, you will find a compact excerpt of the results in the following table:
Child seat comparison: The best child car seats
Child seats in the ADAC test: not recommended despite compliance with standards
But even if a child seat meets the standard, that does not mean that it is recommended for your child. In a test published at the end of May 2021, the ADAC also tested a total of 26 models for their safety. The sobering result: Five child seats only received a "poor" rating in the test. The reason? During the test, the ADAC discovered naphthalene and plasticizers in the upholstery fabrics. These include the Swandoo Marie 2 for 500 euros, the Osann Oreo 360° for around 270 euros and the Besafe iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size, both with and without the iZi Modular i-Size Base, for 260 to 500 euros. However, Swandoo and Osann have already announced that they will fix the shortcomings.
The Chicco Kiros i-Size with the Kiros i-Size Base for 420 euros also received a "poor". Namely, in the frontal impact test, the seat became detached from its base. The manufacturer therefore offers its customers an exchange.
For children up to one year old, ADAC recommends the Babyzen Yoyo iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size by Besafe with the iZi Modular i-Size Base for around 500 euros, the Maxi-Cosi Tinca with Tinca Base for around 330 euros and the Stokke iZi Go Modular X1 i-Size by Besafe with iZi Modular i-Size Base for around 520 euros.
For children up to 1.5 years, two models top the list: The Peg Perego Primo Vaggio Lounge with i-Size Base for around 420 euros and the Silver Cross Simplicity Plus with Simplifix Isofix Base for around 440 euros.