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Orange County, California

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John Bisnar
John Bisnar
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Child Car Seats Fail Safety Testing

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Check How Your Child’s Seat Performed

Car seats are safe little cocoons for your little ones where they will be snug and safe as you cruise down freeways and city streets – right?

WRONG, say the experts at Consumer Reports magazine, who tested 12 infant seats, including many of the most popular and fast-selling name brands. They found the car seats we count on to protect our babies “failed disastrously” when tested at higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, according to the article published Thursday in the Consumer Reports magazine and posted on their Web site, www.consumerreports.org. The car seats that were tested “twisted violently or flew off their bases and in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab.”

Of the 12 infant seats the magazine tested, 10 flunked badly. The only two that performed well were the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.

The nine other car seats met federal standards, but provided poor protection, the magazine found. One seat, Evenflo Discovery, even failed to meet the basic standard, but is apparently still in the market.

The test findings, according to the magazine, offer added evidence that LATCH, the federally-mandated attachment system for child car seats, are actually rather ineffective and in fact, perform worse than regular vehicle seat belts.
Here are some tips from Consumer Reports on 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.

But always remember: Any child car seat is better than no seat at all!

Here is the other side of this “how safe is my child’s car seat” issue. Since 1978 I have been representing people involved in auto accidents, probably more than a thousand cases. We have never had a injury to a child properly secured in a car seat, no matter the make or model. For that matter we have never had an unborn injured when her mother was in a traffic accident, when she was properly restrained.

Call or email me for a consultation if you have been injured due to a defective product or traffic accident.