EN 14344: European Standard for Child’s Seats for Bicycles
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Since 2004, it has become easier for the consumer to determine whether a child’s seat for bicycles is safe and of good quality. In that year, a European standard that includes a number of elementary safety aspects has become effective. Compliance is based on self-certification.
In the meantime, a reference to the standard has been published in the Official Journal. As a result, seats that comply with the standards are presumed to conform with the EU General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC. Consequently, the EN 14344 label now appears on the majority of the branded seats. The main requirements of the standard are as follows.
3 types of seats
The standard applies to seats for the transport of children, weighing from 9 up to 22 kg. This more or less corresponds to the age group of 9 months up to 5 years, provided that the child is capable of sitting unaided. The standard distinguishes three groups of child’s seats.
Category A15 comprises rear seats suitable for children up to 15 kg. A22 is the category of rear seats for children up to 22 kg. C15 covers seats to be mounted between the handlebar and the rider, which can carry children up to 15 kg. All other types, for instance to be attached to the handlebar only or seats for children above 15 kg to be mounted between the handlebar and the rider are excluded from the standard.
EN 14344 imposes minimal dimensions for the following parts of the seat: the seating area, the backrest, the footrests and the parts that hold the legs. The seat should not have any protruding or sharp parts. It must be designed in such a way that any contact between the child’s feet and the bike wheel is impossible. If the protection integrated in the seat is not sufficient to that end, the manufacturer must supply additional guards. Moreover, the standard lays down detailed tests to ascertain whether the seat is sufficiently shock- and temperature-resistant.
The attachment to the bicycle of all types of seats must meet the following conditions. A tool must be required to (un)lock at least one of the attachment mechanisms. Alternatively, attachment should consist of two independent locking mechanisms that are operated simultaneously.
A third option is at least two automatic systems that cannot be simultaneously released by an unintentional action. Last solution is a system that is (un)locked by means of two consecutive actions, the first of which is maintained while the second is carried out.
Rear seats attached to a luggage carrier must have an additional fastening that cannot be removed from the seat, that is attached to a part of the bicycle other than the carrier and that only allows to move the seat backwards to a limited extent. This type of seat must be used in combination with luggage carriers that have a width between 120 and 175 mm. Front seats must have at least one attachment point to the bike, which is not the handlebar or the extension of the handlebar stem.
Centre of gravity
For the benefit of the mounting, the centre of gravity must be clearly visibly marked on the outside of the seat. In any case, it is not allowed for the centre of gravity to be more than 100 mm behind the point vertically above the rear wheel axle in the case of A22 seats and 150 mm in the case of A15. On the seat should also be mentioned the maximum weight of the child, the name of the manufacturer or the brand name, year and month of production and the number of the standard, i.e. EN 14344.
The seat must be supplied with a separate manual in the language(s) of the country where the seat is sold. The manual must also include all necessary information on mounting and usage and the maximum weight of the child. It must also indicate which tools are required for mounting the seat provided they are not supplied with the seat. Finally, EN 14344 also imposes a restraint system.
The seat must have at least belts that restrain the child at the shoulders and crotch. A combination of shoulder- and hip belts is only allowed if the seat has a between-legs hump or pommel of minimum 20 mm high. The seat must also have footrests with adjustable straps, unless the seat is designed in such a way that the legs are completely shielded.
This is just a rough outline of the standard. You will find full details in the official standard text, which should be available in your own language at your national standardization institute.