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Consumer reports-important info about car seats

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groovypeg
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Consumer reports-important info about car seats

YONKERS, N.Y. - Most of the infant car seats tested by Consumer Reports "failed disastrously" in crashes at speeds as low as 35 mph, the magazine reported Thursday.

The seats came off their bases or twisted in place, the report said. In one case, a test dummy was hurled 30 feet.

Of the 12 car seats tested, Consumer Reports said it could recommend only two, and it urged a federal recall of the poorest performing seat, the Evenflo Discovery.

Evenflo issued a statement disputing the tests' validity, saying, "The magazine's test conditions and protocols appear to conflict with the collective experience of car seat manufacturers, NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the scientific community."

To be sold in the United States, an infant seat must perform adequately in a 30 mph frontal crash, and Consumer Reports found that all but the Discovery did so. But it noted that NHTSA crash tests most cars at higher speeds — 35 mph for frontal crashes and 38 mph for side crashes — so the magazine tested the seats at those speeds.

"It's unconscionable that infant seats, which are designed to protect the most vulnerable children, aren't routinely tested the same as new cars," said Consumer Reports' Don Mays, a product safety director.

NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason issued a statement saying: "We are always interested in making car seats better and safer but not more complicated and difficult for parents. ... We don't want consumers misled into thinking holding a child is better than putting it into a car seat."

Nine seats failed some or all of the higher-speed tests, Consumer Reports said, while meeting the federal 30 mph standard. Another seat was judged unacceptable because it did not fit well in several cars, the magazine said.

Messages seeking comment were left with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, a trade group.

The magazine tested the type of seat that faces the rear and snaps in and out of a base. It used test dummies weighing 22 or 30 pounds, depending on the seat manufacturers' claims.

In the 35 mph test, seats separated from their bases, rotated too far or would have inflicted grave injuries, Consumer Reports said. At 38 mph, four seats flew out of their bases, it said.

The only seats that passed all the tests were the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS — expanded polystyrene foam — both selling for about $90. Consumer Reports urged parents shopping for seats to buy one of those two, but it also noted that "any child car seat is better than no seat at all."

It also said some seats performed better when attached by vehicle safety belts than when attached with the LATCH system. The system, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, includes belts that hook the base of a car seat to metal anchors in the vehicle.

Posted 1/4/07 9:18 PM
 
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05mommy09
Family of 5!

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<3 Mommy <3

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Did anyone see the news special tonight- I was curious what they had to say about the car seats? Was it the same as the above info?

Posted 1/4/07 9:31 PM
 

GoldenRod
10 years on LIF!

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Shawn

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

It used test dummies weighing 22 or 30 pounds, depending on the seat manufacturers' claims.



How many infant seats handle babies that big? I thought 22 was on the high-end of capacity? Are there seats that handle 30lbs?

Also, keep in mind that CR doesn't test *every* car seat (or any other product), just a sampling, so don't panic and think that your seat is unsafe.

Posted 1/5/07 7:16 AM
 

MrsProfessor
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I saw the segment on the news and read the info on the CR website. I have the Graco Safe Seat (which didn't do so well) though I have not used it yet because my baby isn't due for 10 more weeks. I am thinking about exchanging it for the Snug Ride.

Posted 1/5/07 7:48 AM
 

Marcie
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by MrsProfessor

I saw the segment on the news and read the info on the CR website. I have the Graco Safe Seat (which didn't do so well) though I have not used it yet because my baby isn't due for 10 more weeks. I am thinking about exchanging it for the Snug Ride.



Great - this is the one I have Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 7:57 AM
 

Elizabeth
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"MOMMY!!!"

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by MrsProfessor

I saw the segment on the news and read the info on the CR website. I have the Graco Safe Seat (which didn't do so well) though I have not used it yet because my baby isn't due for 10 more weeks. I am thinking about exchanging it for the Snug Ride.



If you are thinking about changing it, I'd do it ASAP. With a report like this out, I bet the stores are going to be flooded with parents purchasing the recommended seats.

I cant believe so many seats failed, how truly shocking and utterly disturbing!! I had the SnugRide with my kids and always liked it, Im glad to hear it was a good seat but so many seats failed Chat Icon Chat Icon How terrible!!

Posted 1/5/07 8:08 AM
 

NJmom
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I just read the Consumer Reports article and it was shocking! I had a Britax Companion, which all along I thought was supposedly one of the safest seats, but it was one of the seats that didn't pass the test. It's also pretty interesting that the Graco SnugRide EPS passed the tests, but the more expensive Safe Seat didn't. Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 8:55 AM
 

Stacey1403
Where it all began....

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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Some of the bad ones

The Bad
Chicco KeyFit
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP
Compass I410
Evenflo Embrace
Britax Companion
Graco SafeSeat
Safety 1st Designer
Combi Centre ST
Evenflo Discovery
Eddie Bauer Comfort

Posted 1/5/07 8:57 AM
 

NJmom
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Stacey1403

Some of the bad ones

The Bad
Chicco KeyFit
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP
Compass I410
Evenflo Embrace
Britax Companion
Graco SafeSeat
Safety 1st Designer
Combi Centre ST
Evenflo Discovery
Eddie Bauer Comfort




The only 2 that passed were the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.

2 out of 12 seats! Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 9:01 AM
 

Little-J-Mommy
I'm a Big Brother

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D

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Marcie

Posted by MrsProfessor

I saw the segment on the news and read the info on the CR website. I have the Graco Safe Seat (which didn't do so well) though I have not used it yet because my baby isn't due for 10 more weeks. I am thinking about exchanging it for the Snug Ride.



Great - this is the one I have Chat Icon



me too. so what do we do now? Try to exchange for the snugride? I'm so confused.Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 9:04 AM
 

Marcie
Complete Happiness :)

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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I am VERY disturbed by this - especially that we are leaving to drive to Florida today Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 9:05 AM
 

KPtoys
I'm getting old

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Karen

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

yes exchange it for a Snugride if you can

If you are leaving for Florida pop into BRU and get a new seat if you are that disturbed!

Posted 1/5/07 9:07 AM
 

anon
where's winter?

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xxxxxxx

Message edited 2/9/2007 9:12:55 PM.

Posted 1/5/07 9:13 AM
 

Charly
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Stacey1403

Some of the bad ones

The Bad
Chicco KeyFit
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP
Compass I410
Evenflo Embrace
Britax Companion
Graco SafeSeat
Safety 1st Designer
Combi Centre ST
Evenflo Discovery
Eddie Bauer Comfort




I believe the article actually said some of these passed if you use the seatbelts and NOT the LATCH (not great, but easily fixed.) Chicco (the one I have is the 3rd best after the 2 that based)

See below for the article posted on the CR Website

Message edited 1/5/2007 9:29:06 AM.

Posted 1/5/07 9:23 AM
 

Charly
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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Here's what's posted on Consumer Reports Website (read the last paragraph if you own any of the car seats tested)

February 2007
Safety alert: What if this were your child?
Most infant car seats fail our new front- and side-crash tests


A SIDE CRASH, UP CLOSE The Evenflo Discovery infant seat performed poorly in our new side-impact test, shown here. It also failed to meet the federal frontal-crash standard.
You’d think that in a car crash, infants in their cozy car seats would be the most protected passengers of all. But you’d be wrong, our tests reveal.
Consumer Reports Video
SAFETY ALERT
Infant Car Seats





Cars and car seats can’t be sold unless they can withstand a 30-mph frontal crash. But most cars are also tested in a 35-mph frontal crash and in a 38-mph side crash. Car seats aren’t.


When we crash-tested infant car seats at the higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, most failed disastrously. The car seats twisted violently or flew off their bases, in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab. Here are the details:
Of 12 infant seats we tested, only 2 performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
Nine infant seats provided poor protection in some or all of our tests, even though they meet the federal safety standard. One seat, the Evenflo Discovery, didn’t even meet that standard. We urge federal officials to order a recall of that seat.
Infant car seats sold in Europe undergo more rigorous testing than do models sold in the U.S. Indeed, when we crash-tested an infant seat we bought in England, it was the best in our tests. An infant seat sold in the U.S. by the same manufacturer failed. (See European models.)
Our findings offer added evidence of problems with LATCH, the federally mandated attachment system for child car seats. Most car seats performed worse with LATCH than with vehicle safety belts. And LATCH attachments aren’t always easy to use.
One federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, regulates both vehicles and child car seats. Why aren’t car seats tested as rigorously as cars?


NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson says the U.S. car-seat standard is rigorous and that side-crash tests are problematic. For side crashes, “our engineers do not have a performance test they’re comfortable with,” he says.



TOUGHER SAFETY TESTS


Our new tests are tougher than the federal car-seat standard because a significant performance gap exists between vehicles and the car seats they carry.


The federal New Car Assessment Program tests most cars and minivans, and some pickups and SUVs, in 35-mph frontal crashes and 38-mph side crashes. Scores in the form of “star” ratings are widely publicized, and as a result carmakers have improved the crash protection of vehicles. There has been no such incentive for the makers of child car seats sold in the U.S.


The infant seats we evaluated are rear-facing carriers that snap in and out of a base. The base connects to the car by means of the vehicle’s safety belts or LATCH attachments. (LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, includes belts that hook the base to metal anchors in the car.)


We crash-tested multiple units of each infant seat. In some crashes we used vehicle safety belts to secure the base; in other tests we used LATCH attachments. The collisions mimic a crash in a Ford Explorer SUV, a popular family vehicle. (The Toyota Camry sedan crumples similarly, especially in a side crash, so we would expect comparable results for some sedans.)


We used a test dummy weighing the maximum claimed weight for each seat. That’s 30 pounds for the Graco SafeSeat and 22 pounds for the others.


In our 35-mph front-impact test, seven car seats failed. They separated from their bases, rotated too far, or would have inflicted grave injuries, as measured by our test dummy, whose sensors record the severity of impact. We retested these to see whether they passed the 30-mph federal standard. All passed except the Evenflo Discovery.


When we performed side-impact tests at 38 mph, eight models failed. Four of the seats flew out of their bases.


Three seats failed all our tough tests: the Evenflo Discovery, the Graco SafeSeat, and the Britax Companion, formerly our top-rated seat based on earlier tests that mirrored the federal standard. Most other tested seats passed either the front- or side-crash test in some configuration, though only the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS passed all our tests. (EPS stands for expanded polystyrene, a cushioning material.)


Some Britax Companion seats were recalled in October 2006 because carriers were assembled incorrectly; we tested a later model. The Evenflo Discovery, which we deem Not Acceptable and believe should be recalled, was the subject of a NHTSA investigation in 2004 after the agency received seven reports about the carrier separating from its base. (Evenflo received 52 reports, 6 involving fatalities, NHTSA says.) NHTSA said it could not identify a safety defect and closed the investigation.


The Eddie Bauer Comfort infant seat also had problems, specifically in our fit-to-vehicle test of one of two bases sold with the seat. Because of that test result we judge the seat Not Acceptable and believe the base should be recalled.


Our trained car-seat installers could not get the base to fit securely in five different vehicles. The seat also performed poorly in our side-crash tests. The company Web site indicated that our model included a new and improved base.


The Web site was wrong, which we learned when we later bought another sample of the seat and discovered a different base that fit better. We have also learned that the manufacturer will supply that base through a “customer satisfaction program” but only to those consumers who know to complain to the company. The car seat (also called the Caress Comfort) is being discontinued though it is still sold. We're crash-testing the seat with the other base. Results will be posted in our Ratings in the coming months.



ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH LATCH


No car seat can provide good protection if it’s not installed right, something that the LATCH system was devised to address. A tight fit is important for crash protection, and our testers find that you are more likely to get a secure fit with LATCH than with vehicle safety belts. Nevertheless, the car-seat tests underscore continuing problems. For example, more seats failed when attached with LATCH than with safety belts, even when the installation was done by professionals. The same has been true in our previous car-seat tests.


Our tests suggest that infant car seats might be better secured if their bases were attached to floorboard anchor points in addition to existing LATCH anchors. Another improvement would be for the U.S. standard to allow for car-seat bases similar to many sold in Europe. They include a “foot” that adds stability in a frontal crash.

VICTIMS Matthew Gallardo was killed and his older cousin, Arron, was injured in a side crash in which Matthew was ejected from his car seat. Below, Carlye Siebens holds her son, Landon, who was bruised in a collision when his car seat separated from its base.



Another problem with LATCH is that anchors in many cars are hard to access. And most vehicles don’t have LATCH anchors in the safest seat in the car: the center rear. It can also be hard to adjust safety belts to a car seat located in the center rear.


General Motors vehicles are an exception; many have center LATCH anchors. And some Ford models allow parents to use the inner two LATCH anchors from the outer seats to install a child seat in the center rear.


NHTSA spokesman Tyson says the agency will hold a public hearing on LATCH probably in February; the date had not been set as of press time. LATCH has been successful, he says, but there are concerns. “The problem we have now,” he says, “is parents who are not installing the seats properly.”



REAL-WORLD COLLISIONS


All states and the District of Columbia require infants to be secured in car seats when traveling in passenger vehicles. Still, 572 infants under 1 year old were killed in traffic accidents from 2001 to 2005, with side crashes accounting for 151 of those deaths, or 26 percent, NHTSA data show.


No one is saying that a car-seat standard with side-crash tests would prevent all deaths and injuries from side impacts. Still, the families of some victims say it would be an improvement.


Mary and John Gallardo’s grandson, Matthew, was one of those victims. In March 2004, Matthew’s infant seat flew off its base in a side-impact crash on U.S. 49 in Harrison County, Miss., and he was ejected from the car. The Gallardos’ daughter, Candace, was also killed and another grandson, Arron, was injured. “This was devastating,” says John Gallardo, who wants car seats made so that they better withstand side crashes. “We just want to help see that no one else has to suffer what my family went through.”


Carlye Siebens and her son Landon were luckier. In May 2006, after securing Landon in his car seat, Siebens pulled out from a stop sign near her home in Deland, Fla. Her car was broadsided, and Landon, then 7 months, suffered bruises and minor cuts when his car seat separated from its base and he landed face down. “The first thing I did was look in my mirror to check on my child, and he wasn’t where he had been,” Siebens says. “You assume the car seat would have been intact.”



WHAT YOU CAN DO


Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, strongly believes that NHTSA should strengthen safety testing for car seats so that it is comparable with the tests conducted on new cars. That means including a side-crash test. If the New Car Assessment Program is any indication, crash performance improves when results are publicized.


The agency also needs to revisit the LATCH standard. Automakers should make anchors and tethers easy to access. And LATCH anchors should be required in center-rear seats.


For now, here’s how to keep your baby as safe as possible while traveling:
If you’re shopping for an infant car seat, buy one of the two we recommend. (See the Ratings.)
If you already own a Chicco KeyFit, Compass I410, Evenflo Embrace, or Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP, use it with vehicle safety belts, which passed our tests, not with LATCH, which didn’t. If you can’t get a tight fit with the safety belt, buy one of the two seats we recommend.
If you own a different infant seat, consider replacing it with the Baby Trend Flex-Loc or the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
Secure your child in the center-rear seat if the car seat can be tightly fastened there. Go to www.nhtsa.gov to find a free car-seat inspection station near you.
Send in the registration card that comes with new car seats, so that the manufacturer can contact you if the seat is recalled.
Remember that any child car seat is better than no seat at all.

Message edited 1/5/2007 9:28:30 AM.

Posted 1/5/07 9:24 AM
 

Marcie
Complete Happiness :)

Member since 5/05

27789 total posts

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LOVE being a Mommy!

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Charly

Posted by Stacey1403

Some of the bad ones

The Bad
Chicco KeyFit
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP
Compass I410
Evenflo Embrace
Britax Companion
Graco SafeSeat
Safety 1st Designer
Combi Centre ST
Evenflo Discovery
Eddie Bauer Comfort




I believe the article actually said some of these passed if you use the seatbelts and NOT the LATCH (not great, but easily fixed.) Chicco (the one I have is the 3rd best after the 2 that based) I think girls should read the entire article before freaking out.



I think I have a right to freak out - by this statment

Three seats failed all our tough tests: the Evenflo Discovery, the Graco SafeSeat, and the Britax Companion, formerly our top-rated seat based on earlier tests that mirrored the federal standard.


I have the Graco SafeSeat

Message edited 1/5/2007 9:26:43 AM.

Posted 1/5/07 9:25 AM
 

Charly
LOVE!

Member since 5/05

12578 total posts

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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Marcie


I think I have a right to freak out - by this statment

Three seats failed all our tough tests: the Evenflo Discovery, the Graco SafeSeat, and the Britax Companion, formerly our top-rated seat based on earlier tests that mirrored the federal standard.
I have the Graco SafeSeat



I understand in your case, but not every car seat was tested and some are still considered safe if you don't use the LATCH...that's all I was trying to say. Sorry

Message edited 1/5/2007 9:58:55 AM.

Posted 1/5/07 9:27 AM
 

MrsProfessor
hi

Member since 5/05

14279 total posts

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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

The idea of these seats coming out of the bases scares the crap out of me.

I think I am going to return my travel system this weekend and get the Snugride and separate stroller.

Ironically, the Snugride is $90 and the Safe Seat is $150 when sold separately.

Posted 1/5/07 9:43 AM
 

AlohaMa
Never Forget

Member since 2/06

2735 total posts

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Jen

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I have 2 SafeSeats and I called Graco. Since I have already used mine for 4 months, they will send me a "rebate" of sorts if I purchase Snugrides. THe thing is, that most of us drive over 35mph anyway... do we really know if even the seats that passed would do well at highway speeds?Chat Icon

Posted 1/5/07 9:57 AM
 

Mom-2-Liam
LIF Adult

Member since 10/06

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Mary

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I heard this on the news last night. I am glad we have the Snugride.

I always tell DH to be a defensive driver too - I dont' worry about his driving (except when he acts like Mario AndrettiChat Icon ) but it's the other cars out there and other drivers possibly doing stupid things that I always watch out for. If it means I let someone pass me or I drive a bit slower, so be it.

Posted 1/5/07 11:05 AM
 

LIMOMx2
...

Member since 5/05

24989 total posts

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Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Some tested are still considered safe if you don't use the LATCH system. Which I do not use. Plus, why is a baby that big still in an infant carseat? They should have done the tests with a smaller child.

The tests seem to be a little off.

Posted 1/5/07 11:10 AM
 

Disneygirl
Disney cruise bound!

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D

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by majen

I have 2 SafeSeats and I called Graco. Since I have already used mine for 4 months, they will send me a "rebate" of sorts if I purchase Snugrides. THe thing is, that most of us drive over 35mph anyway... do we really know if even the seats that passed would do well at highway speeds?Chat Icon



Interesting point. Thankfully I have the snugride but I am curious to see how it would perform at highway speeds as well.

Posted 1/5/07 11:24 AM
 

Diane
Hope is Contagious....catch it

Member since 5/05

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D

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

Posted by Elizabeth

Posted by MrsProfessor

I saw the segment on the news and read the info on the CR website. I have the Graco Safe Seat (which didn't do so well) though I have not used it yet because my baby isn't due for 10 more weeks. I am thinking about exchanging it for the Snug Ride.



If you are thinking about changing it, I'd do it ASAP. With a report like this out, I bet the stores are going to be flooded with parents purchasing the recommended seats.

I cant believe so many seats failed, how truly shocking and utterly disturbing!! I had the SnugRide with my kids and always liked it, Im glad to hear it was a good seat but so many seats failed Chat Icon :-



o How terrible!!




I know I have the snugride too, and these results are astounding

Posted 1/5/07 11:25 AM
 

AlohaMa
Never Forget

Member since 2/06

2735 total posts

Name:
Jen

Re: Consumer reports-important info about car seats

I just picked up 2 snugrides at BBB. I have a feeling they are beginning to get inundated with issues from concerned parents

Posted 1/5/07 12:51 PM
 
 

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