A consumer information based child restraint evaluation program was initiated in Australia in 1992. The assessment and evaluation procedures used in this program were recently reviewed and as a result, the assessment protocols and scoring methods have been significantly enhanced. This paper presents the revised assessment methods currently being used in the Australian Child Restraint Evaluation Program. The program includes both a dynamic performance assessment and an ease of use assessment.
Dynamic assessment includes frontal testing (56km/h and 34g) and two side impact tests (90 degree, 32 km/h and 16g; and 66 degree, 32 km/h and 16g). The side impact test set up includes a non-intruding side door structure. Rearward facing, forward facing and booster seats are subjected to all dynamic tests using dummies corresponding to their upper mass range design limits. An approach based on an objective, pre-defined rating matrix was developed to score and rate the relative dynamic performance.
The ease of use assessment method is based on the North American methods used by ICBC and NHTSA. Some enhancements to the individual items assessed and the ratings used were made to suit Australian conditions. Details of these enhancements are presented.
A scoring system that allows for a four step (A-D) rating system for both the dynamic and the ease of use performance was introduced and this is also presented and discussed in detail in this paper. Exemplar results from the first series of assessments are presented to demonstrate the benefits of the revised protocol and the scope for further improvements to the methods being used.
The process for the release of the test results and the response from media are also outlined.
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