Impact absorbing foam in a child restraint system (CRS) absorbs the impact energy during a crash. It can be found where it is needed most, along the inside of the frame and head restraints of the CRS.
There are two different types of impact-absorbing foam:
✔ Expanded polystyrene foam (EPS)
✔ Expanded polypropylene foam (EPP)
EPS and EPP are two types of expanded plastic foam which is both light, durable and inexpensive to manufacture. Both are extensively used in packing, insulation, model-making and various types of safety gear. The two plastics have different physical properties.
EPS is used widely in safety equipments such as helmets and CRS because it is cheaper than EPP. However it is fragile and can be easily dented. Due to its good insulating properties, EPS is also used as food and drink containers, ice cooler box and as building insulation.
EPP is used in similar applications as EPS, but it is more expensive. It is more elastic and less fragile than EPS and it can spring back into shape.
As injuries may occur when crash forces are transferred to your child, the impact absorbing foam is used to absorb some of those crash forces before it breaks, thus keeping your child from absorbing the impact and therefore minimizes injuries. The foam also acts as a barrier between your child and the rigid CRS frame and any other intruding objects such as the vehicle door or window.
Because of its fragile nature, often parents faced with the problem of broken EPS foam while trying to open the cover of the CRS to wash it.
Be very careful if you would like to open the CRS cover because once the EPS foam is broken, it has to be replaced with a new one, or worse, the whole CRS has to be replaced!