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Britax Römer’s Feedback to Stiftung Warentest JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT Child Bike Seat Test Results (Stiftung Warentest Issue 03/2018)
What was tested?
What wasn’t tested?
The JOCKEY2 COMFORT was not tested. The product was launched in January 2018 with a revised design and replaces the JOCKEY COMFORT. The JOCKEY2 COMFORT is a completely new development with an improved shell and a new harness buckle.
In the Stiftung Warentest test of children’s bike seats from March 2018, the JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT were rated “insufficient”. Aside from the positive test findings, they stated that the force required to open the harness buckles does not meet the level required by the EN14344:2004 standard.
The JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT were tested by Stiftung Warentest in 2007 with identical harness buckles. Both products received a "good" rating, including in the safety category, and JOCKEY COMFORT was the test winner.
Response from Britax Römer
At Britax Römer, we stand fully behind our safe and successful JOCKEY COMFORT and JOCKEY RELAX products. The products with identical buckles have been sold hundreds of thousands of times and have proven themselves in the marketplace.
The EN14344:2004 standard stipulates that the release force for the buckles used with the JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT must be between 40N and 60N (4kg and 6kg). The buckle must therefore consistently release given a force (on the release mechanism) of between 40N and 60N. It must not open as a result of a force less than 40N and should not require a force greater than 60N to open.
Fig. 1: According to the EN14344:2004 standard, the release force for harness buckles must be between 40N and 60N (4kg and 6kg).
The JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT conform to the EN14344:2004 standard. The harness buckles we use consistently show a release force between 40N and 60N (4kg and 6kg), as verified by independent inspection organisation TÜV Rheinland (most recently on March 21, 2016), as well as by our own regular internal tests.
Britax Römer received preliminary information from the Stiftung Warentest testers and also discussed this with them. As a result, it became clear that they test the release forces of harness buckles in a different way than TÜV Rheinland and Britax Römer.
As with child car seats, it is possible in rare cases that children can release the harness buckle of a child bike seat themselves. The standard for child bike seats, EN14344:2004, explicitly states that the force required to release the buckle should be between 40N and 60N and thereby implies that children can also release these harness buckles. As a point of reference, children over 1.5-years old can apply pressure over 40N.
Despite the hundreds of thousands of child bike seats in use with this harness buckle, we are not aware of any accidents involving children releasing the buckle.
How Britax Römer tests
As a leading manufacturer of child car seats and child bike seats, Britax Römer has worked closely with European authorities for more than 50 years to bring regulations and standards to the newest and safest levels. In addition, Britax Römer has one of the most modern crash test facilities in the world for child car seats for conducting in-house tests, as well as custom devices for testing child bike seats.
The Britax Römer technical department played a leading role in the development of the original EN14344:2004 standard. The JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT child bike seats with the harness buckle in its current form were developed and tested in accordance with the EN14344:2004 standard.
Many of the test requirements, especially those related to the harness system, were taken from the ECE R44 standard for child car seats. Opening forces for harness buckles in ECE R44 are tested under load, because they ultimately relate to protecting the occupant who creates the tension on, and is retained by, the harness. In our opinion, the same is true for child bike seats in which tension is present on the harness when the child is sitting in a correctly buckled bike seat. That is why Britax Römer and TÜV Rheinland test the harness under tension as this corresponds to real conditions. This is depicted in Figure 2.
Our internal tests with the JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT buckles consistently show an average release force of 47N and conform to the EN14344:2004 standard’s required release forces
Fig. 2: Britax Römer tests with a tension of 17.5 N (equal to 1.75 kg). Our internal tests of the JOCKEY RELAX and JOCKEY COMFORT buckles show an average release force of 47 N.
Fig. 3: Harness buckle test without tension
Contact Britax Römer
Parents can use Britax Römer child bike seats without worry. It is important to talk to children and explain to them that they shouldn't release the buckle. Parents who are nevertheless concerned can contact our consumer services team at any time.