Consumer reports has some alarming new data on the safety of car seats. The Consumer’s Union Consumer reports that, "most infant car seats fail our new front and side crash tests."
Consumer reports designed some new tougher tests for car seats, and the following resulted,
"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 of the seats failed side impact tests, and also many seat detached from their base.
We own a Britax Companion, Bram our baby son uses the seat when we drive, so my wife, Karin and I are quite concerned about this new research.
We went to the Britax site and found a response to the consumer reports article. Britax basically stated the seats comply with existing standards, and some comments about the consumer reports test results. Here is some of the response from Britax,
"Britax would welcome the opportunity to review the additional testing and test results designed by Consumers Union. Without those details, Britax cannot comment on the technical attributes of the article published by Consumer Reports."
I think I might contact Britax next week to find out if they have approached consumer reports for their data. (Here’s the number to call at Britax if you own one of their seats and have concerns. 1-888-427-4829)
I’ve put a call into the Consumer's Union to find out if Britax has approached them to gain access to their data. Here’s the press contact info for consumer reports if you want to do some further research into the public relations consequences of this story. Phone: (914) 378-2029 E-mail: OPI@consumer.org