Many people wonder how this little vest called the RideSafer Travel Vest can be safe and legal compared to the typical large, bulky car seat. So is the RideSafer legal?
Update 11/11/16: There are no longer two versions of the vest. The manufacturer has replaced them with one model RideSafer, which includes both features the two old versions had. The RideSafer meets — exceeds — the federal safety standards set in FMVSS213 and is a legal child restraint in the U.S. The RideSafer is certified and labeled per legal requirements stating it’s legal use in the U.S.
RideSafer is Legal
The RideSafer 2 is a FMVSS 213 certified child restraint. It is a legal child restraint.
The RideSafer 3 is technically not a certified product. It performs exactly the same in crash tests as the RideSafer 2 when used with a lap-shoulder belt. However, because it can’t be used with a lap-only belt nor it doesn’t elevate the child it falls between NHTSA’s categories (harness seat or booster) it cannot be “certified”. You can view the crash test videos and see the measured results here.
We understand the confusion, and at times frustration, around the topic of “certified” versus “tested to” and legal versus illegal and how neither may equal safe versus unsafe.
With FMVSS 213 the federal government sets performance criteria for child restraints and how much crash energy is experienced by a child during crash. They do this by requiring the manufactures to crash test their products and measure the crash energy at different point on an instrumented crash test dummy.
The original RideSafer vest, and subsequently the RideSafer 2, are able to meet the line item in the criteria requiring the ability to be used in a lap-only belt because they also can be tethered. They are also tested with a lap and shoulder belt with and without the tether.
Due to a design change to accommodate consumer demand that allows for adjustability of built-in harness, the RideSafer 3 was born and was no longer able to be tethered and no longer able to pass the line item testing criteria of being able to be used in a lap-only seat belt therefore it cannot be “certified”. It is hoped FMVSS 213 will be updated to allow for harness restraints to be certified when tested with a lap-shoulder belt at which time the RideSafer 3 will be able to be certified.
Our understanding is once the manufacturer’s booster seat is available the EU (European) version will become the “United Combo” with a RideSafer 3 and Delighter Booster which will be certified for use together under the booster seat requirements in the U.S.
We always recommend a RideSafer 2 for younger children because of the added support and restraint of using the tether with the lap-shoulder belt. But we feel a RideSafer 3 safely fills a need especially for parents who travel and/or ride in taxis a lot.
On a personal note, our daughter has used a RideSafer 3 since she was 6 (she is now 8) as she is always in a car with a lap-shoulder belt and can sit properly positioned. Our 3-year-old son uses a RideSafer 2 daily.
Did you ever wonder if the RideSafer is legal? Share your comments below.
By Greg Durocher, CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Technician Instructor since 2002
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