If you’re a new parent searching for the right type of traveling gear for your kid, you will be facing the same question a gazillion times that is ‘Which car seat do you want?’ A pretty clichéd question that is. Because you want a car seat that provides safety and comfortability to your child. Well, that is one wrong answer. Since you will not be asked about the features of your car seat, but the origin of your car seat. Yes! Car seats have origins too, but only two of them. American and European.
Now, don’t think of it as discrimination, since these two types of car seats are brutally different from each other in aspects of features and safety standards. The European car seats are made according to the instructions given by EU law. While, the American car seats are manufactured keeping in view, the US car seat laws. Since both the laws are different, the car seats are built differently, highlighting different features and adding or subtracting others.
You won’t need to search for the particular type of car seat if you live in Europe or America, since they sell their types in their countries. However, if you’re an Asian or not a resident of any one of the particulars, then you need to check out this article and decide for yourself which one is superior and safer than the other.
European Car Seat VS American Car Seat:
The European and American car seats differ from each other in several aspects. Below are the factors that differentiate the two types of car seats:
Baby car seats are subject to different tests that decide whether the car seat is according to the safety standards or not. One of the test car seats go through is the testing speed, which checks if in case of an accident the car seat shatters or not. In both cases, the car seat is installed on a passenger seat of a dummy car and then rushed and crashed (in front and back directions to check all angles). The testing pace of the European car seats is 50 kilometers per hour, while, the testing pace for American car seats is 48 kilometers per hour. While conducting the same test for miles per hour rate, European testing is conducted at 31 miles per hour and American testing is conducted at 30 miles per hour.
- Side Crash Testing:
The next set of tests is the side impact test that checks the durability and sturdiness of the side impacts. The side-impact crash tests are done to check the risks of injuries in case of a side crash or accident. However, the side impact testing is conducted only in the European car seats. EU law has set the side impact safety as an essential requirement in all car seats and booster seats. On contrary, American car seats don’t have any such rules. However, some of the American car seat manufacturers carry outside crash testing, to add up to the reliability and safety factor of their car seats. Such American car seats are labeled ‘Side Impact Approved’ or ‘Side Impact Tested’. They are a better option in terms of safety as compared to the normal American car seats.
- Chest Lock Clips:
The above two tests differentiate both the car seats from each other. But some other accessories that may seem to be tiny but play a huge role in offering safety, for example, the chest lock clips. Basically, chest lock clips are used to hold the baby in place by locking the chest straps with the crotch buckle. European car seats don’t have them since they are not allowed according to the law. One main reason is that in case of any emergency, the chest clips will consume time in disarming the baby from the seat since the officers are trained to remove the child from the seat in a go. American car seats usually have chest clips, even though it is not restricted by their law. The manufacturers put a chest clip on their car seats since it acts as an extra protective layer on the baby. If you’re an American resident, you should definitely go for the extra layer of protection and choose the chest clip car seat. As for the European car seat, choosing one with a chest clip will be a violation of the law.
- Installation Accessories:
Car seat installation can be one hell of a task since the car seats are heavy and the space available in the passenger seat is quite congested. Moreover, the installation manual does not help that much in guiding properly. But the installation technology fixed by both laws helps in installing the car seat with the help of their affixed accessories. The European car seats have ISOfix that is a firm and sturdy bar that sticks out from the back of the car seat at a distance. On the contrary, American car seats have LATCH, which is a flexible seatbelt used to secure the car seat in the passenger seat. It is used the same way as a normal seatbelt and is then fixed into the lower anchors of the car.
- Lap Belts and Top-tethers:
The lap belts and top-tethers straps are provided to add extra safety to the baby in case of an accident or car crash. However, it is not restricted by European law. Even then, some European car seats have lap belts and top-tethers. Many European car seat manufacturers don’t add lap belts since they cannot be used for air travel. As for the American car seats, lap belts and top-tether straps are a crucial requirement for passing the test.
Although the European car seats seem to be stricter, they don’t allow some important safety features such as chest clips and lap belts. But both car seats are made according to their region’s law and safety standards. However, if you are an outsider, looking for some super safe car seats, we suggest you go for the American car seat with extra accessories and layers.