News Archive

News: Acura Earns Highest Safety Ratings on ALL 2015 models. Two Dorel Boosters Re-Evaluated by IIHS.


Acura Safety v3.0We commend Acura for achieving top overall ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA on every current model!  We awarded the Acura MDX honors as the safest 2015 SUV in a recent article, and would like to acknowledge vehicle manufacturers that place an emphasis on safety.  Acura claims to be the first and only auto manufacturer to earn a 5-star Overall vehicle score from the NHTSA NCAP program, AND a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS across its entire 2015 model line (IIHS TSP+ rating when equipped with collision mitigation braking systems).  Congrats!

CarseatBlog emphasizes crash test ratings and advanced safety features in all our auto reviews.  We strongly encourage other manufacturers to put safety first and to make crash test ratings a top priority for ALL vehicles, as Acura has done.  To put it simply, an NHTSA “5-star” overall rating and IIHS “Top Safety Pick” rating is something every buyer should require in a vehicle.  No new vehicles today should earn anything less than a “4-star” rating from the NHTSA or less than an “Acceptable” rating from the IIHS in any individual crash test result.  Period.

We also encourage all auto makers to equip advanced crash avoidance technologies as standard whenever possible, especially on top trim levels and luxury vehicles.  On economy models and lower trim levels, these features should be readily available in a relatively low cost options package.  All too often, collision mitigation braking systems necessary to qualify for the IIHS Top Safety Pick “+” aware are a hard-to-find option and only on the most expensive trim level.  Then you must tack on thousands of dollars more for a safety technology package, if you can even find one at all on dealer’s lots!  That type of obsolete marketing is NOT putting customers and safety first.


booster_safety-1st_summit-65In other news, the IIHS is correcting two “BEST BET” booster recommendations from 2014.  The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 and Safety 1st Summit 65 were given the top rating in error.  The revised rating is “Not Recommended”.  According to the IIHS:

The concern about the Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 and Safety 1st Summit 65, both manufactured by Dorel Juvenile, is that while the shoulder belt crosses the child’s body at the middle of the shoulder, it is positioned too far forward. In that position, the shoulder belt would be less effective in a crash.

The IIHS states that these models were inadvertently evaluated to the protocol used prior to 2014.  They also note that these ratings only apply to these models in booster mode, and DO NOT apply when used with the 5-point harness system.  Below, you can see the difference between a Good (left) and Poor (right) shoulder belt fit in regard to contact at the shoulder (courtesy of IIHS):

Booster-GOOD-FIT-IIHS (00000002) Booster-POOR-FIT-IIHS

Consumer Reports Identifies Potential Safety Issue with Recaro Performance RIDE Convertible Seats


Recaro Performance Ride convertibleToday Consumer Reports released information on a safety issue they identified during testing of the Recaro Performance RIDE convertible. In crash tests using their new test protocol, the harness support hardware in the back of the Performance RIDE shell broke. This allowed the harness to pull through the seatback and loosen as the dummy moved forward. This structural failure occurred in three of four Performance RIDE tests using the 35 lb 3-year-old dummy. In all three cases, the seat was installed forward-facing on the test sled using LATCH (lower anchors and tether).

According to Consumer Reports:

The potential risk of a harness that loosens in an actual vehicle crash would be the increased forward movement of the head and added potential for a child’s head to contact some surface in the vehicle interior. There also is increased risk for the child to be ejected from the seat, and for the harness to no longer secure the child for any secondary or subsequent impacts or events.

Read the full article here: Structural Weakness Found in Recaro Performance RIDE Child Seat

I think it goes without saying that we take carseat safety very seriously around here and while these findings are concerning (especially when you consider that these same seats were recently recalled for unrelated performance issues) we want to make sure that Performance RIDE owners have a full understanding of what is going on so they can decide for themselves what action, if any, they should take.

First and foremost, it’s important to know that the new Consumer Reports carseat crash test was developed to be more rigorous than federal standards. CR realizes that not all carseats are created equal even though they should all meet the basic safety standards of FMVSS 213. Therefore, CR set out to develop a test to try to determine which carseats provide extra levels of protection beyond the standards already established by NHTSA. The CR test is very different from the FMVSS 213 tests that all child restraints are expected to pass in this country.

With that said…

Since this is a new and more stringent test, we don’t automatically think that all seats that earn a “BASIC” rating from CR are unsafe in some way. On the other hand, no other convertible seats tested by CR using the new crash test protocol had these specific issues with the 3-year old dummy that weighs 35 pounds. Now, we are fully aware of the differences between running a test at 27-30 mph (FMVSS 213 speed) and running it at 35 mph (NCAP/CR TEST speed) but the fact that these convertible seats are rated up to 65 pounds forward-facing and yet may possibly experience issues with the 3-year-old dummy doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

CR reports that the Performance RIDE had similar failures with the 6-year-old, 52 pound dummy in their test, installed using the lap/shoulder seatbelt and tether.  Four other convertibles of the 25 tested also failed with the larger dummy, though this is a much more extreme test in their new, higher speed protocol.  Also, most Recaro Performance RIDE and ProRIDE convertibles were recently recalled for failing to meet certain FMVSS 213 performance standards. It was a failure unrelated to the issue CR encountered and Recaro is sending a recall remedy to all owners of recalled seats but it was a performance failure nonetheless and it affected most of the convertible seats Recaro had made in the last 5 years.

Our advice:

If you are currently using a Recaro Performance RIDE carseat in the rear-facing position you don’t have any cause for concern at the moment since both the recent recall and the concerns raised by CR are related to issues that may potentially occur when the seat is used forward-facing.

If you are currently using a Recaro Performance RIDE carseat in the forward-facing position, fix your tether strap with the recall kit if your seat has been recalled and continue to monitor the blog for further updates, if any, regarding your carseat.  This issue reported by CR is not a second, new recall for your seat and there have been no public complaints made to NHTSA regarding this issue. As always, if your child is under 40 pounds and still fits in the rear-facing position, turn the seat rear-facing for optimum protection. Forward-facing, make sure the installation is tight and the harness is snug and continue to use it with caution until we learn more.  If your child no longer fits within the rear-facing limits, please consider another convertible or forward-facing carseat from our Recommended Carseats list.


Recaro’s Response to Consumer Reports:

“The Recaro Performance RIDE convertible car seat has saved the lives of many children involved in a car crash and has never experienced a field failure after being in the marketplace for over five years. Recaro tests to meet and exceed all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test requirements. The research by Consumer Reports was conducted with a crash test at 40 percent more energy at its peak than current NHTSA standards. We want to reassure our consumers that we take all aspects of a child’s safety seriously and will examine these findings closely. Recaro appreciates Consumer Reports’ interest in child passenger safety.”

For more info see: New Crash Protection Ratings and Methods from Consumer Reports

Recaro Recalls Certain ProRide and Performance Ride Convertible Seats


Today Recaro Child Safety announced a recall of convertible seats made between April 9, 2010 and June 9, 2015.  Over 173,000 carseats are affected.  These child restraints do not fully comply with the system integrity requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213. “When the affected child seats are installed using the top tether, the top portion of the restraint can crack and allow the top tether to separate from the restraint. As such, these seats fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 213, “Child Restraint Systems.” In the event of a crash, the child restraint could fail to protect the child from contacting interior surfaces of the vehicle, increasing the risk of injury.

Recaro submitted a petition for an exemption of non-compliance in July, 2014, and the NHTSA denied Recaro’s petition in July, 2015, after a public comment period in November, 2014.  “NHTSA’S Decision: In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA has decided that the ProRIDE and Performance RIDE’s noncompliance poses a risk to safety and is therefore not inconsequential. Recaro has not met its burden of persuasion that the FMVSS No. 213 noncompliance identified in Recaro’s noncompliance information report is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. Accordingly, Recaro’s petition is hereby denied and Recaro is obligated to provide notification of, and a remedy for, that noncompliance under 49 U.S.C. 30118 and 30120.”  The NHTSA also has recall related information.


Recaro ProRIDE convertible

Recaro ProRIDE convertible

Recaro Performance RIDE convertible

Recaro Performance RIDE convertible

What’s the Fix:

The remedy kit consists of a load limiting strap and instructions on how to install it on your carseat.

If you are a ProRIDE or Performance RIDE owner currently using a now-recalled seat, here’s our advice:

  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the rear-facing position – you still need to contact Recaro for the recall fix, but the issue with the tether potentially separating from the shell doesn’t apply in your situation because that’s only a concern when the seat is installed forward-facing.
  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the forward-facing position – consider whether or not your child could actually use this seat in the rear-facing position until you are able to obtain the recall fix kit. If your child weighs less than the rear-facing weight limit (which is either 35 or 40 lbs., depending on when your seat was made) and your child has a seated height (measure bottom of tush to top of head) of less than 22.5 inches tall – he or she can still use the seat rear-facing and you avoid the potential issue with the tether.
  • If you are using your ProRIDE or Performance RIDE convertible in the forward-facing position and using it rear-facing isn’t an option, please read Recaro’s statement below:

Recaro USA has issued the following statement:

What You Should Do:

During applicable tests conducted by NHTSA, the dynamic test scores that directly affect the child were still within the limits allowed by the FMVSS 213 standard, hence, you should continue to use your RECARO ProRIDE or Performance RIDE as instructed in your manual. You may check the model number and manufacture date on your child restraint to see if it is affected by this notice. You can find the model number and manufacture date on a white label on the left side of your child restraint. If your model is affected please email or call our customer service team at 1-866-628-4750 to obtain a repair kit. The repair kit will consist of a load limiting strap and instructions on how to install it in a vehicle.

Look for model numbers of 332.01.AK21, 332.01.KAEC, 332.01.KAEG, 332.01.KK91, 332.01.MC11, 332.01.MJ15, 332.01.QA56, 332.01.QA9N, 332.01.QQ11, 332.01.QQ14, 332.01.QQ95, 333.01.CHIL, 333.01.HABB, 333.01.HAZE, 333.01.JEBB, 333.01.JETT, 333.01.KNGT, 333.01.MABB, 333.01.MARI, 333.01.MNGT, 333.01.PLBB, 333.01.PLUM, 333.01.REBB, 333.01.REDD, 333.01.ROBB, 333.01.ROSE, 333.01.SABB, 333.01.SAPH, 333.01.SLBB, 333.01.SLTE, 333.01.VIBB, 333.01.VIBE and manufacturing dates between April 9, 2010 – June 9, 2015.

You can also order a fix kit directly by visiting Please be prepared to enter your model number and manufacture date of your child restraint.

Happy Child Passenger Safety Week, 2015


RibbonSeptember 13-19 is National Child Passenger Safety Week. Once again, CarseatBlog would like to thank technicians, car seat manufacturers, safety advocates, and parents for everything they do to keep kids safe in the car.

If you need your car seat checked, many organizations are holding events on Seat Check Saturday (September 19) or throughout the week. This is also a good time to share safety information with friends and family.

Key points to remember:

  • Keep children rear-facing until at least 2 years old.
  • Keep children in a harnessed seat until they fit properly in a booster seat and are mature enough to sit properly in the belt (usually a minimum of 5 years old).
  • Keep children in booster seats until they fit properly in an adult seatbelt. The seatbelt should sit low on the hips, touching the thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the middle of the shoulder, and the child’s knees should bend at the edge of the seat when s/he is sitting all the way back.
  • Children should ride in the back seat until at least 13 years old.
  • Wear your seatbelt, and put down the phone while driving. Kids learn from the adults around them.

Resources to find a local event or fitting station:

Safe Kids USA


Visit us on Facebook and feel free to use our Child Passenger Safety “ribbon” as your profile picture for the week (or longer!)

NHTSA Be Informed graphic