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John Bisnar
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Consumer Reports Retracts Infant Car Seat Study

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Consumer Reports magazine is now saying that the study it released earlier this month stating that most infant car seats failed when tested in high-speed vehicle crashes, is actually flawed.

The magazine posted the retraction on its Web site, www.consumerreports.com, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials pointed out that the side-impact tests were actually conducted under conditions that would represent being struck in excess of 70 mph – not 38 mph as claimed by the original magazine article. The article said that most of the car seats tested either flew off their bases or broke when tested at that speed.

Nicole Nason, an NHTSA administrator, said in a news release Thursday: “I was troubled by the report because it frightened parents and could have discouraged them from using car seats.”

The implication I get from what NHTSA has to say about the Consumer Reports testing is that at 70+ miles per hour, most of the seats failed, not 38 miles per hour. Although the testing and reporting was flawed, we now know which seats held up best in a high speed collision. I want my granddaughter in the seats that held up in the high speed testing. I can not count on a negligent driver going 38 insteat of 70 mph.

Nason said parents should understand the importance of using car seats. It’s true. Any car seat is better than no car seat.

Consumer Reports is asking that readers suspend their judgment on the merits of individual products until the new testing is completed and the report is re-published.

Thank you Consumer Reports for reporting your error in a professional, appropriate and timely manner. Althought this faulty test shows that Consumer Reports in not infallable, the way they have handled their error gave me confidence that when they make an error they will report it and redo the testing.

Thank you NHTSA for stepping in. Now NHTSA, could you do the same with the automakers? Stand up to them and point out their errors. Has NHTSA ever thought to get involved with the poorly designed and dangerous seats that it knows causes numerous traffic accident fatalities every year? What about the roof crush issue and the 15-Passenger vans still on the road?