A highly demanding test which highlights the improved safety of rear facing car seats
All seats sold in Europe have to comply to certain standards, either R44 or R129, to be sold legally. As well as passing these standards, many manufacturers choose to independently test their seats to higher standards to ensure they are as safe as they can be, such as putting the seat through the Plus Test.
The Plus Test was founded in 2009 in Sweden as an optional test after studies were conducted on real accidents measuring the stress forces placed on childrens necks. A young childs neck is one of the most vunerable places, with their head making up 25% of their entire body weight, compared to just 6% in adulthood. They found that children cannot withstand forces greater than 130kg to the head and neck. In the Plus Test this force is measured establishing a maximum allowed limit of 122 kg. It stands as the hardest test which exists today and guarantees that your child is not exposed to life threatening forces in a collision.
The Plus Test consists of 3 main elements which set it apart from the mandatory tests, all of which make it very hard to pass:
1. Higher speed
The speed is higher than normal compared to the speed used by the European approvals with speeds of 56kph (approx 34mph) used instead of 50kph (approx 31mph) in the R44 and R129 (i-size) approvals
2. Very short braking distance
The introduction of much shorter braking distances means that the impact on the car seat is much more violent due to the massive deceleration in a short space of time
3. Measure the forces in the crash test dummy’s neck with sensors
To make the Plus Test even more difficult, they not only use higher speeds and shorter braking distances, but also carefully measure the forces in crash test dummy’s neck with sensors. Which means that forward-facing car seats will not have any chance to pass the test because the neck forces are too high.