Car seat shopping can be intimidating and even downright confusing, especially if it’s your first car seat purchase. How can you be sure the car seat you’re considering is really safe? Many consumers assume that if a car seat is on the store shelf, it’s safe and that’s not always correct.
To help you in this process, we provide in-depth crash testing information on all our car seats so you can make a confident and informed decision. Below you will find each of the safety features for our seats and why they are important for your child. If you review the information and compare it to other car seats, you will quickly see the difference in the quality and level of safety a Diono seat can provide.
Side Impact Protection for the RadianRXT
Diono developed side impact protection for all of its car seats by creating a rigorous testing protocol that simulates side impact crashes. The seats were evaluated on how well they contain the head, chest and pelvis acceleration. Testing was repeatedly performed in multiple facilities both in the US and in Europe. Watch the Radian crash test video on the Safety Center home page.
Radian seats feature deep, reinforced sidewalls that extend straight forward and are lined with thick, energy absorbing foam. Sidewalls must have proper size, shape and strength in order to contain a child, provide protection and absorb side impact forces.
Combining steel frame construction and the SuperLATCH system, Radian is the first car seat to allow forward-facing LATCH use above 48 lbs, and rear-facing LATCH use above 40 lbs. It’s a bold step that no other car seat company has been able to take.
Most unsafe child seat installations result from a seatbelt not properly securing the seat.1 In 2002, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandated Lower Anchor/LATCH to simplify and improve child seat installations. But limits in child seat design and hardware prevented Lower Anchor use with children over 48 lbs. Diono developed SuperLATCH to complement its steel frame reinforced Radian car seats. Radian with SuperLATCH™ allows installation using vehicle lower anchors for a child up to 80 lbs. Seat belt installation is never required AND top tether is never required – even at 80 lbs.21 http://www.safekids.org/parents/
2 80 lb lower anchor limit only for vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2005
Strength requirement for vehicle lower LATCH anchors was increased in September 2005 by NHTSA. (Strength requirement for vehicle tether anchors was not increased.)
Note: For all vehicles made after September 1, 2005, Diono allows LATCH installation with Radian models up to 65 lbs and 80 lbs, even if the vehicle manual states a 48 lb lower anchor limit.
Don’t be fooled by the LATCH on other car seats. SuperLATCH accommodates children to 80 lbs. All others max out at 40 to 48 lbs and require seatbelt installation.
NCAP Crash Tested
To give you a little background, in 1978 the US Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began crash testing popular vehicle models in the United States. Their protocol involved running vehicles head-on into a fixed barrier at 35 mph. Results were published for the information of consumers, as the US arm of the international New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). For "severe-accident" testing, NHTSA utilizes an NCAP crash test of 35mph and 47g impact force - almost twice the crash impact force of the standard FMVSS213 crash test of 30 mph and 25g. It’s now the established benchmark for assessing child seat performance in severe accident conditions. NCAP crash testing assures a child’s safety is not compromised by a potential failure of the child seat in a severe accident. Please note: NCAP testing is not required for car seats.
Radian seats are NCAP crash tested at their maximum capacities: rear-facing (45 lbs), forward-facing with harness (80 lbs), and as a booster (120 lbs), all without relying on the use of top tether. In every test, the test dummy remained securely retained and Radian was structurally intact. See the crash test results here.
Because of its installation angle, a rear-facing convertible seat generates much higher lower anchor loads than a forward-facing seat (for example: 30 lbs rear-facing can generate similar anchor loads as 50 lbs forward-facing).
In all crash tests, even at the maximum weight of 45 lbs, Radian meets all the biomechanical values and seat back angle limits established by NHTSA in FMVSS213.
FMVSS213 only requires such results with rear-facing children below 22 lbs.
Above 22 lbs, rear-facing seats do not have to meet any performance results.
In all crash tests, even at the maximum weights of 80 lbs (5-pt harness) and 120 lbs (booster), Radian seats meet all the biomechanical values established in FMVSS213.
Note: FMVSS213 only requires such results with forward-facing children below 50 lbs.
Above 50 lbs, forward-facing seats do not have to meet any performance results.
Car seats for children up to 22 lbs rear-facing and 50 lbs forward-facing must be able to pass FMVSS213 crash test standards without using top tether. Above these weights, tether use can be "required" by the manufacturer. Diono always recommends correct top tether use, but a child seat must be able to perform safely without relying on top tether due to limits of its potential capacity and for its use in all situations.
- Not all vehicle seating positions have tether anchor points in suitable locations.
- Even with growing awareness, top tether use is still less than 30%.
- There are limitations on the load capacity of top tethers in some vehicles.
Requiring top tether for the safe performance of a child restraint creates a significant risk that should not be ignored, especially with larger children. Radian and SuperLATCH™ are designed with exceptional strength so that top tether use is never required – even at 80 lbs.
What is it? Do I need it?
SafeStop is a patented, energy absorbing harness component that significantly reduces the forces affecting a child’s head, neck and chest in an accident. It’s a load-limiting device designed to absorb energy and reduce impact to a smaller, forward-facing child. This is especially important as younger, forward-facing children (under 40 lbs) have proportionally heavier heads, but less-developed neck strength. Radian is the only car seat in the world with this energy absorbing harness system.
Radian’s five-point harness has five different shoulder positions and three buckle positions, ensuring that as your child grows they will always fit properly in their car seat. Additionally, the R120 and RXT both feature head and body pillows that provide proper positioning for infants and babies. For maximum vehicle compatibility, two forward-facing recline positions allow the Radian to fit a wide variety of vehicle seats. When installed rear-facing Radian’s detachable base provides a proper recline angle. Radian’s low center of gravity also helps reduce seat rotation in the event of an impact.
Side Impact Protection for the Monterey
Monterey features deep, protective sidewalls that are reinforced and lined with energy absorbing EPS foam to provide the best side impact protection. Monterey was designed to protect a child in a side impact crash, as well as in an oblique accident. Monterey was crash tested in accordance with newly proposed FMVSS side impact standards. Results show that Monterey protected the child from both vehicle intrusion and contact with rigid interior vehicle components in a side impact event.
Real side impact protection means body containment, energy absorption and barrier protection:
- Deep sidewalls and head support provide an encapsulating and protective barrier.
- Energy absorbing EPS foam lines the head, torso and hip sidewalls for increased protection.
- Aluminum reinforced structure provides enhanced containment of body mass at the hips and torso.
Only 25% of accidents are side impact events, but they account for many of the worst injuries. Side impact safety requires a rigid head support that will not flex outward under lateral forces. Sides must be deep and lined with firm, dense foam to absorb enough impact energy (like a bike helmet). Currently, there is no side impact testing standard or requirement. Any product can claim "side impact safety" without meeting any standard or even conducting any tests. Side impact testing was done in Germany to a standard established by ADAC, the most recognized automotive testing organization in Europe. ADAC utilizes a "fixed-barrier" side impact crash test that simulates the entire vehicle being struck from the side, requiring the structure of the child seat sidewalls to fully contain and protect the child. Structural side impact performance of a child seat can be seen clearly in our crash test video. View the Monterey crash test video on the Safety Center home page.
Monterey features integrated connectors that allow for optional attachment to a vehicle’s lower anchors. Fixed-position installation helps improve performance and eliminates the risk of an unoccupied booster becoming a flying hazard in an accident. Monterey’s LATCH tightening adjusters are conveniently located in front to make this installation option easy.
New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) for the Monterey
To give you a little background, in 1978 the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began crash testing popular vehicle models in the United States. Their protocol involved running vehicles head-on into a fixed barrier at 35 mph. Results were published for the information of consumers, as the US arm of the international New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). For “severe-accident” testing, NHTSA utilizes an NCAP crash test of 35mph and 47g impact force - almost twice the crash impact force of the standard FMVSS213 crash test of 30 mph and 25g. It’s now the established benchmark for assessing child seat performance in severe accident conditions. NCAP crash testing assures a child’s safety is not compromised by a potential failure of the child seat in a severe accident. Please note: NCAP testing is not required for car seats.
Even under a worst case situation (NCAP testing with a 120 lb dummy) Monterey remained intact, the dummy was securely retained and the seat bottom did not crush, maintaining proper shoulder belt and lap belt positioning.
- NCAP is 35 mph, "severe-accident" crash testing that is required for all cars, but not car seats.
- NCAP is almost double the impact force (47g) of a FMVSS213 crash test: 30 mph, 25g impact force.
- NCAP testing is well established in the child safety industry in Europe, Canada and US.
"Submarining" refers to the occupant beginning to slide underneath the lap belt during emergency braking or in an accident. Monterey features a ramped seat pan angle, combined with a reinforced seat bottom to keep the lap belt properly positioned across the child’s pelvic region. European crash test procedure measures lap belt intrusion to the abdomen and requires a low value to meet European certification. Monterey performs exceptionally well in this regard.