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Car Seat Safety Update, Revised

A couple weeks ago I told you about a
recent Consumer Reports test; the Consumers Union tested 12
rear-facing infant car seats and reported that 10 out of the 12
seats used failed at least one of their tests.

Last week, the Consumers Union retracted
that report after the federal government claimed the failure
results came from drastically higher test speeds than stated in the

Consumer Reports has announced an internal
investigation into the veracity of the government’s claims,
and that they will re-do the tests as soon as possible and issue a
new report. Meanwhile, they are still urging a recall of the
Evenflo Discovery, the car seat that failed the most in their

I imagine that if you’re a parent
using one of the infant car seats that got low marks, you’re
feeling partly relieved but partly confused right now. I know I
would be. I’m not sure what I would do in your situation.
Here are the things I know to be true:

Consumer Reports works really hard to
provide unbiased, high-quality, dependable information to
consumers. They refuse to accept advertising or sponsors, conduct
all their tests anonymously so they don’t get
“freebies”, and do not allow companies to even use
their name in advertising such as “Consumer Reports rated us
the best!”

I also know that ANY car seat is better
than no car seat at all. So here are some things you can do:

-Make sure your car seat is in good
condition. If your baby is the sixth one to use it, you may want to
think about buying a new one. Buckles and straps start to wear down
with time, and the plastic may be weaker than you think.

-Along those lines, I’d encourage
you not to buy a car seat second-hand; you have no way of knowing
if that seat you picked up for 20 bucks at a garage sale has
already been in a wreck or not, and thus may be structurally
weaker. Only borrow a used car seat from someone you know and
trust, make sure you have all the instruction books, and look them
up on line to make sure the model hasn’t been recalled.

-If you buy a new car seat, register it
with the maker so they can notify you of any safety issues or

-Sign up at href="http://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.asp">this site to be
notified of any government recalls; they’ll email you

-Get your car seat installation checked.
Click href="http://www.seatcheck.org/">here to find a location
near you. Having your seat correctly installed is half the

-Click href="http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/011907dnnatcarseats.55ad0942.html">
to read an article on the car seat test retraction.
You can also read about it at href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cu-press-room/pressroom/2007/2/0702_eng0702ccs.htm">
Consumer Reports’ website
or read the
government’s updates on the situation at the target="_blank" href="http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/">NHTSA

-Use a car seat. All the time.

I’ll let you know if there’s
more news on this topic as I find out about it.


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