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Consumer Reports Reputation Damaged, However Do Child Car Seat Crash Test Speeds Need To Be Revised?

Consumer Reports Withdraws Car Seat Report

My wife, Karin, and I were thinking of buying a new car seat because Consumer Reports had suggested most of the car seats in the US were not up to scratch.

Today we learned that Consumer Reports is withdrawing its infant car seat report.

I am doubly annoyed with Consumer Reports, one because of their poor research methods, and two because I had contacted the Consumer Reports PR department several weeks ago, and the PR guy there promised he would get back to me with some answers to my questions. I’d asked if Consumer Reports would be working with Britax

One this is an embarrassment to Consumer Reports, a well-respected consumer advocacy group in the US, and two it shows a level of cluelessness on the part of the Consumer Reports PR department in how to communicate with bloggers and social media.

I'd like to know what went wrong with their research methods. These issues need to be cleared up; millions of parents were probably affected by the original report. This New York Times article describes how one company Evenflo, had vigorously defended itself in the face of the original report.

I called the Consumer Reports PR department again this afternoon but have not heard back yet.

1/19/07 Update:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested the seats and discovered that the Consumer Reports results has serious errors. Here's the statement from NHTSA,

“Our initial review of the Consumer Reports testing procedures showed a significant error in the manner in which it conducted and reported on its side-impact tests. The organization’s data show its side-impact tests were actually conducted under conditions that would represent being struck in excess of 70 mph, twice as fast as the group claimed. When NHTSA tested the same child seats in conditions representing the 38.5 mph conditions claimed by Consumer Reports, the seats stayed in their bases as they should, instead of failing dramatically.”