Safety Archive

Halloween – The Most Dangerous Night of the Year

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The risk of a child pedestrian being killed by a driver is twice as high on Halloween night.

halloween-pedestrian-safety-graphic-2

If you are driving today (especially during the hours of 4-8 pm when most young pedestrian deaths occur) please exercise extreme caution and follow these tips:

1. Drive slowly and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off children.
2. Park your cell phone. Tonight is the worst possible night to be a distracted driver!
3. Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
4. Always yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street.
5. Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals and if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.

Have a Happy & Safe Halloween!

Evenflo Recalls Evolve Combination Seat

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Evenflo Platinum Evolve - ToryEvenflo is recalling certain Evolve combination seats because some children are able to reach the harness release button, allowing them to loosen the harness while they’re in the seat. No injuries have been reported.

The recall covers seats manufactured prior to February 9, 2016, with model numbers 34411700 and 34411741 in the United States and 34411700C in Canada. Registered owners should automatically receive the recall kit, but parents can check Evenflo’s website or can call the company at 1-800-233-5921 (U.S.) or 1-88-265-0749 (Canada) to determine if their seats are affected. The recall kit consists of a new harness adjustment button assembly and installation instructions. A video of the installation instructions can be found here.

If you own an Evolve car seat and are using it in booster mode, you can continue safely using the seat as a booster since the recall is for the harness portion only.

If you own an Evolve and are using it in harnessed mode, you have a couple options while you wait for your fix kit to arrive:

evolve-recallIf your child has not shown an interest in loosening it, or cannot reach the harness adjustment button with the harness straps tightened properly, you can monitor the situation while continuing to use the seat.

If your child is loosening the harness, the first thing you should do is the Pinch Test to double check that the harness straps are tight enough. It’s a lot easier to reach the button if the harness isn’t properly snug. A snug harness has no visible slack and you cannot pinch any webbing in the straps above the chest clip near the collar bone. In our experience, most younger kids can’t manipulate the button if the harness is appropriately snug because their arms just aren’t long enough. Older kids with longer arms are more likely to be able to reach the adjuster and unlock it.

If the harness is snug but the child can reach the adjuster button and persists in loosening the harness, Evenflo suggests using the seat in booster mode (if the child is at least 40 pounds and 44 inches tall) until the remedy kit arrives. If the child is under that height/weight and playing with the adjuster, Evenflo recommends discontinuing use of the seat until the remedy kit is applied.

The Evolve is a “sister seat” to the Evenflo Transitions car seat. The Transitions was recalled for an identical problem back in February.

2016 Graco Milestone Label Recall

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Graco is recalling about 6,000 Milestone All-in-One carseats due to missing information on a label. This DOES NOT affect the safety of the carseats, but the information is required by NHTSA. The phrase, “secure this child restraint with the vehicle’s child restraint anchorage system, if available, or with a vehicle belt,” is missing from a large label on the side of the carseat.

Milestone Kline2016 Milestone Recall Label

Graco Milestone carseats affected include models manufactured between July 2015 and October 2015:

Milestone Model #s Manufacture Dates
1910130 07/09/2015 through 10/09/2015
1923980 08/04/2015
1926538 09/12/2015
1926539 08/17/2015

You can find the model number and date of manufacture on the back of the carseat or on the bottom on a label that looks like this:

2016 Milestone sample DOM label

For more information on the recall, visit the Graco Milestone Recall page.

2016 Infant Carseat Safety Ratings from Consumer Reports – 17 new models evaluated

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The Safest Infant Carseats:  Best, Better or Basic?  How do infant seats compare?

Today, Consumer Reports released their second round of infant carseat ratings using their new test methodology for evaluating infant child safety seats. We feel these ratings are likely to be a big step forward and should help parents to compare the crash safety of carseats. In the long term, just like the 5-star rating system from NHTSA and the IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings for automobiles, more rigorous testing often leads to better product designs in the future.

Why did Consumer Reports create their own crash test for child restraints?

Consumer Reports wanted to provide consumers with comparative information on carseats. By developing their own crash test, the goal was to determine which carseats offered an extra margin of safety in certain crash conditions simulated by the new tests. We know all carseats sold in the U.S. should meet federal safety standards but we also know all carseats aren’t the same. The goal here was to determine which seats could hold up well even under tougher crash test conditions that were also more “real world” than the current tests.

How is this test different from the government’s FMVSS 213 crash test?  

The Consumer Reports crash test was developed to be more rigorous than the current federal safety standards. They also designed the test with more real world vehicle conditions in mind. This new test is performed at an independent, outside testing facility. It uses a contemporary vehicle seat with a lap/shoulder seatbelt and a floor below it, unlike the government’s FMVSS 213 crash test which has a 70’s era back seat test bench with lap-only seatbelts and no floor. There is also a “blocker plate” installed in front of the test seat to simulate the interaction that occurs between the carseat and the front seat in a real crash. This is important because in the real world we know children are often injured when they come into contact with the back of the front seat during a crash. Consumer Reports also chose to run their tests at 35 mph; the government’s crash test is 30 mph.

Consumer Reports - test buck

What is the rating scale?

The crash protection ratings will indicate a “BASIC,” “BETTER,” or “BEST” score for crash protection. The rating is based on a combination of injury measures. While we don’t know exactly where they drew the line between best and better, we do know that seats receiving a “best” rating for crash protection performed statistically better than other peer models for crash performance.

A seat can be downgraded to a “basic” rating if there are repeatable structural integrity issues or if the dummy records injury measures that are considerably higher than the other peer models tested. Seats with a “basic” rating are still considered safe to use because they do meet all the safety standards in FMVSS 213. Please try to keep in mind that these are VERY challenging new tests and there will always be some designs that outperform others.

CR also gives each seat a separate overall numeric score which is based on its crash protection rating and other factors like ease of installation with seatbelt or lower LATCH anchors and ease of use. Seats with high overall scores will have a “better” or “best” crash protection rating plus they are considered easy to install properly and easy to use correctly.

Below we have listed the crash protection rating for the infant seats that received either a “Best” or a “Basic” rating for crash protection.  If you want to see the full ratings for all the seats they tested, which include 22 additional models in the “Better” rating category (plus all the overall numeric scores and comments), they are available only to subscribers. An annual online subscription to ConsumerReports.org is $26.

Infant Carseat Ratings

keyfitsurgeNot surprisingly, their top overall performers (combination of crash protection plus ease of installation and ease of use) are the Chicco KeyFit & Chicco KeyFit 30 models, which are also on our list of Recommended Carseats.

NUNA PIPA + BASE WITH LOAD LEGWe note that the Asana 35 DLX (our review of the Asana is coming very soon), Cybex Aton 2, Cybex Aton Q, & Nuna Pipa were all tested using their load leg feature. Thanks to the load leg, these seats were all top performers in crash protection. Unfortunately, a load leg cannot be used on the government’s FMVSS 213 crash test sled, as that sled does not have a floor. 

Below is a table of the infant carseat models which received a “Best” rating for crash protection, as well as those that only received a “Basic” rating.