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Buckle Up Takes Center Stage at Smithsonian

Two of the most influential characters in modern American advertising history were recently inducted into my favorite museum, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.  Vince and Larry, the crash test dummies from the ‘80s and ‘90s made it cool to wear seatbelts by showing us with humor how dangerous it is to go without them.

Also gifted to the museum were other auto safety items, like a 1961 Volvo vehicle seat with lap/shoulder belt, a Hybrid II crash test dummy from Denton ATD, and a padded dashboard invented by a reconstructive surgeon.

If you’re in the DC area, be sure to stop by and cave in to your inner CPS geek to see these awesome treasures.  You’ll definitely make me jealous!

Girl Hits 5 Deer in 1 Year–Look Out!

I don’t know who to be more scared for–the deer or the girl.  Kacee Larson of Iowa has hit 5 deer in the last 12 months.  Perhaps she needs to read Ulrike’s blog post on how to react when encountering deer.  I do like the part in the article where the police use the phrase “don’t veer for deer,” because drivers who do can roll their vehicles or drive into oncoming traffic.

Of course, I’m not at all making fun of Kacee.  My deer of choice when I was 16 was a Volvo.

The Scoop on the IIHS Booster Seat Tests: From “Best Bet” to “Not Recommended”

Recaro Young Sport - BPB 4Today the IIHS released the results of its second round of booster seat fit tests.  They tested 60 seats and grouped the results into 4 performance categories – Best Bets, Good Bets, (Questionable or Inconsistent) and Not Recommended.   All the tests were conducted using the 6-year-old Hybrid III dummy which weighs 51.6 lbs, has an overall height of almost 45″ tall, and a seated height of 25″.  These results evaluate belt fit – not crash protection.  In each case, the boosters were given a total of 8 scores – 4 for lap belt fit and 4 for shoulder belt fit.  The 4 conditions span the range of seatbelt configurations in different vehicles.  The overall rating that each booster received was based on the range of scores for each measurement.

The Today Show ran a segment this morning on the results of this testing and they even interviewed our very own Darren Qunell!  High-fives going out to the Qunell kids for being such great booster models!     http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/34521238#34521238

This second round of tests cannot be directly compared with the 1st round of test results from the IIHS because the engineers have modified the test device and protocol.  These changes will supposedly make it easier for manufacturers to reliably reproduce the results.  This probably explains why the Combi Kobuk highback model dropped from a “Good Bet” in the 1st round of testing to a “Not Recommended” in this second round.  It is worth mentioning that the Kobuk when used without the back portion (as a backless booster) was rated a “Best Bet” in both the 1st and 2nd rounds of IIHS testing.  Unfortunately, The Kobuk is not currently available in just a backless version so consumers would have no choice but to buy the full highback version if they wanted this “Best Bet” pick.  

CarseatBlog Issues Warning on Consumer Reports – Labels Their Carseat Reviews a “Don’t Read: Nonsense Risk”

CR Magazine

It’s like Déjà vu. All over again.    

As we previously reported on CarseatBlog - Consumer Reports made some wild claims about the Orbit Baby infant carseat back in August.  They claimed that the carseat detached from its base during testing and labeled the popular (and pricey) product a “Don’t Buy – Safety Risk”.  Orbit Baby fought back and claimed that their own safety compliance testing contradicted the CR test results. They also claimed, and CR acknowledged, that the infant seats were not installed according to the directions.  All this led to massive confusion as consumers were left wondering who to trust. 

It seems that we finally have an answer thanks to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  NHTSA, for those of you who may be new to the world of Child Passenger Safety (CPS), is the federal agency responsible for setting performance standards and compliance testing carseats to ensure that they meet the standards.  Well… shock of all shocks,  NHTSA found nothing to support CR’s claims that the Orbit Baby infant carseat didn’t meet federal standards and was unsafe to use.  You can read all about NHTSA’s conclusions and their letter to Consumer Reports on the Orbit Baby issue HERE.