Consumer Reports: Um, About Those Car Seats…

It looks like Consumer Reports messed up the side-impact crash tests they conducted on several brands of children’s carseats. From CNN:

    Consumer Reports received information from NHTSA raising questions about the test.

    “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,” said NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason in a statement posted on the agency’s Web site.

    “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,” said Nason.

Consumer Reports has recalled the report and is redoing the tests. They ask that you reserve judgment on individual brands until the new tests are complete. They still, however, stand by their opinion that the Evenflo Discovery should be recalled, “because it didn’t meet federal frontal crash test standards,” as well as the Eddie Bauer Comfort “because it couldn’t be installed properly.” —MEGHANN MARCO

Consumer Reports recalls car seat study [CNN]

PREVIOUSLY: Most Car Seats “Fail Disastrously” In Crash Tests

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  1. clarity says:

    I’m sure they need to cover their asses with the car seat manufacturers…but given real-world highway conditions I’m just as interested in an 70mph result. Car seats are extremely flawed – though car and seat makers continue to blame “user error” for most problems. I want to see increased testing to make sure we’re not putting faith in seats that aren’t very safe – or even dangerous – like the Discovery seems to be. Can’t wait for the new report.

  2. Citron says:

    Oh, yeah. When I think “safety” the first name that comes to mind is “Eddie Bauer.”

  3. Sudonum says:

    Who conducted the tests? Emily Latella?

  4. drzombie says:

    Consumer reports make a mistake in one of their test procedures -> media go crazy -> oops, we made a mistake, hmmm, when has this happened before:
    - anti virus software testing (may have actually released viruses)
    - the suzuki samurai years ago as well, I think (something about exaggerating the risk of rollovers)
    Always take what they say with a grain of salt.

  5. phrygian says:

    If I had a kid and needed a carseat, I’d be much more interested in one that could withstand a 70mph crash than one that can only withstand 35mph. Most of the streets I travel have speed limits above 35mph. Plus, I do a fair amount of highway driving (60-70mph). I think that Consumer Reports’ “mistake” was actually useful for consumers.

  6. thrillhouse says:

    Drive around in Austin, TX for a week and then try and tell me the the 70mph side-impact test is irrelevant.

    Anywho, still interested to see the results from the revised study. It did seem odd that so many failed the first test. With those results, you would think they would have double checked the math.

  7. Chairman-Meow says:

    If you get into an accident @ 70mph all bets are off as to what is going to happen to the vehicle & their soft gooey centers (aka “you”).

    Unless, of course, we all drive around in tanks and everything inside is secured with 4-point harnesses.

  8. Falconfire says:

    Unless, of course, we all drive around in tanks and everything inside is secured with 4-point harnesses.

    Actually, thats the WORSE thing you could have. While the 4 points would be nice, ridged cars where some of the most deadliest cars around. They dont keep the transfer of forces away from the occupants which in turn resulted in hundreds of thousands of stress related injuries and deaths.

    Knock break away cars all you want but they are much safer for you than a tank would be surprisingly.

  9. juri squared says:

    This really pissed me off, because I just bought a year’s subscription to CR online for the express purpose of researching baby gear like oh, say, car seats. Shame on them for screwing up their reputation and the reputation of those seats just to shave a few bucks off by outsourcing.

  10. Celeste says:

    Hey, that means that there are two different brands out there that survived side-impact tests in excess of 70mph. Whups for Consumer Reports screwing up their testing methodology, but I’ll be shopping for the two seats that passed their recalled report.

    And the testing had the added benefit of showing just how flawed LATCH is. I knew it wasn’t any safer than a lap-belt installation, I just didn’t know it was less safe.

  11. Paul says:

    That’s disappointing about CR. My impression of them has always been very positive.

    As for 70mph side impact crashes, I’m not too concerned. Most of the roads on which traffic is moving at that speed are limited-access highways where all traffic is flowing in the same direction. Front- and rear-end collisions are still a big concern there, but side collisions less so.