Consumer Reports: Many Car Seats Fail High-Speed Tests

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All car seats must meet government standards, but Consumer Reports decided to subject infant car seats to even more rigorous tests -- and was shocked at what they found.

Every child car seat sold in the United States must pass a 30 mph frontal crash government test. But Consumer Reports tested the car seats at higher speeds -- 35 mph in front crashes and 38 mph in side impact crashes.

The results were not encouraging. The Evenflo Discovery car seat was the worst performer, but not the only one that had a disappointing performance.

"We found actually quite a few failures. In fact most of the seats we tested did not perform well," said Don Mays of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports found nine seats provided poor protection in some or all of the crash tests.

Only two did well the in the tests -- the Graco Snug Ride with EPS and the Baby Trend Flex Loc.

As for Evenflo Discovery, Consumer Reports says its tests show the seat doesn't even meet the government standard, and wants the seat recalled.

Evenflo Discovery strongly disagrees.

"We unequivocally stand behind the safety of the Discovery car seat based on over 200 independent tests," said Rob Matecuui, Evenflo's CEO.

Install Seats Properly

Consumer Reports also says the Eddie Bauer Comfort Seat is nearly impossible to install and that it, too, is unacceptable.

The company has an improved base, which consumers can request. But despite these tests, the safest place for a child is in a car seat. Installing them properly isn't easy; they're used incorrectly eight out of 10 times.

"Make sure your base is nice and tight to the car, and make sure the harness is tight, keeping your baby tight to the seat," said Jennifer Stockburger of Consumer Reports.

Latches in new cars that attach to the car seats were supposed to make it easier to install car seats.

But Consumer Reports found the latches don't always work well. The government agrees and is holding a hearing on this issue next month.

Government officials say they don't require higher speed crash tests for car seats because real world data shows the seats work very well, and there's no need for them.

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