Interpreting Car Seat Safety Test Results
Okay the latest baby car seat safety test blew my mind. ATTENTION! Now I believe that they've retracted their statement and say that the results of the study were inaccurate due to the tests having been performed at speeds exceeding what they originally stated. Now I'm REALLY CONFUSED! This will be the remembered as the year that I began to question how I choose and shop for baby gear and most of all baby car seats.
I know I'm not alone in thinking that the manufacturers of baby car seats were more conscientious than what the latest tests show. The first baby we had spent all the car time as an infant in... Guess what! An Evenflo car seat! I don't remember what the baby car seat reviews were saying about the Evenflo Discovery or other Evenflo models back then, but I know I would not have bought a car seat that was rated poorly. However, money was tight so we set out to buy a no-frills, basic and SAFE baby car seat.
My thinking on the subject was that government regulations were such that a truly dangerous baby car seat would not be allowed to remain on the market. I considered that even though the price was low that Evenflo was a name I could trust and thankfully that trust was never put to the test. For the low price, I felt that I would be giving up some convenience features in my budget shopping excursion for a car seat for baby. I didn't mind sacrificing a jazzy, colorful car seat cover and perhaps a little extra padding for a bargain price. A personalized baby car seat cover pales in comparison to what the latest car seat safety test has revealed. Truthfully, I believed at that time that most car seats that the reviews said were safe were pretty much equal and basic in design. After all, aren't some of the highly rated baby car seats very affordable and reasonable in price? I mean the high end more expensive Britax brand baby seat wasn't the only car seat that ranked well, was it?
The Graco Snug Ride apparently did rather well in the tests as did the Baby Trend Flex Loc. However, nine out of 12 car seats for baby or infant use, performed poorly very poorly in the safety tests. The Evenflo Discovery car seat was reported to have failed miserably failing and falling beneath what apparently were rather low or laxly enforced government safety standards for baby car seats.
By the time the second baby came along family finances were a little bit better and my knowledge of car seats was more advanced as well. LATCH was the big deal and this baby car seat safety feature was pretty affordable. Any mother worth a darn wouldn't be caught dead with her baby riding in a car seat that did not have the much coveted LATCH system. Even if you had never read the first car seat safety test or baby car seat reviews in the latest Consumer Reports, you knew enough to know that the LATCH system was the mark of a modern baby car seat that was top notch as far as safety features were concerned.
After the release of the latest car seat safety test results the very foundations of all we "thought" we knew about car seat safety was shaken to the core! How naïve we were to believe that the government had taken care of determining what was safe and what was not! Wasn't there some sort of agency to take care of testing infant car seats and weren't they accountable for providing proof of their safety tests and of what was stated in their reviews?
Wouldn't it be a great ideas for the same people that perform car crash safety tests to perform car seat tests at the same time? Wouldn't that save money so that twice as many car seat safety tests could be done on a regular basis?
Why CAN'T they perform the car seat safety test on infant car seats at the same time they do the crash test on cars? Wouldn't that be killing two birds with one stone? What harm could there be in having a little baby crash test dummy strapped in a car seat in various brands of car seats in the rear passenger area?
I'm certainly no expert. I'm just a freaked out worry wart of a mom wondering how all of these car seats manage to perform so poorly in the latest car seat safety tests! I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering, what if we HAD had an accident or car crash when we were using that car seat?
The reports DO say that children are still better off even in these car seats and are probably safer than adults wearing seatbelts in the same car. Proper installation of the car seat in the vehicle and of the baby in the car seat are crucial. While the results of these car seat safety tests are disturbing, I will continue to have the installation of my car seat checked each time I take the car in for service and buckle baby in, no matter what. I will also anxiously wait to see what improvements are made on future models of car seats.
Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, although every effort is made to provide accurate and up-to-date information. I am not a doctor or health care professional. If you are concerned about your health, or that of your child, consult with your health care provider regarding the advisability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your individual situation.