The Safety of Impact Shields
Car seat reviews show Impact Shield provides more protection than a harness
Stiftung Warentest, the main german test institution, says:
"Small children have to be especially secured in their seats. Therefore child car seats of group 1 (9–18 kg) have either a harness or an impact shield. The crash test shows: Child car seats with impact shield are especially safe. In case of an accident the child rolls over the padded impact shield. Movement and padding decrease the forces that enter the small body. Moreover parents can make almost no mistakes as seats with impact shields are easy to handle. Get the child seated, fix the impact shield, ready. Harnesses are neither complicated, but it is necessary to fix them properly in order to assure that the child sits securely. Parents often leave the harness not tight enough. In a well tightened harness system the child also sits safely."
One Example of Best Practice in the automotive industry:
BMW, one of Germany‘s premium car brands, offers child car seats in Group 1 with impact shield technology only.
Misuse comparison of child safety systems
According to the report by the German Federal Road Research Institute (Issue M1 78), the misuse of car seats with 5-point-harness is 81% compared to only 25% for car seats with impact shields.
(Source: Report of the Bundesanstalt für Straßenwesen, Issue M1 78)
Simulated effect of crash impact on child’s neck and brain in a car travelling at 41 mph
Conventional seat with 5-point harness
The child's body has to be fixed without tolerance in the 5-point harness to avoid additional acceleration during an accident. In case of a frontal crash the head will be thrown abruptly forward and the energy of the impact gathers in the sensitive cervical spine. As small children have a relatively large and heavy head, the risk for the head and cervical spine is rather high.
Impact shield technology
In case of a frontal crash the whole upper body of the child can take the shock of the impact. The high tech material within the impact shield absorbs the force of the crash. The forces on the head and cervical spine are comparatively low.