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

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

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. 

Advertisement

Britax Raises the Safety Bar with New Boulevard and Advocate with Anti-Rebound Bar

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

On the eve of baby safety month, one of the big names in car seats has one again raised the bar for child passenger safety.

Britax, who has long been known and trusted by parents for their high quality car seats, is releasing new Advocate and Boulevard Clicktight convertible seats, now with an Anti-Rebound Bar (ARB) for rear facing children. The Anti-Rebound Bar is a steel bar with external padding that attaches to the end of the seat nearest the child’s feet to help improve performance in a crash.

boulevard

When a rear facing car seat is in a crash, it will often first move backwards, that is, towards the front of the vehicle, and then rebound back toward the seat it is installed in. For years companies have been trying to find a way to manage that rebound motion and for a while, it seemed that rear facing tethering was the direction companies were moving. But as vehicle incompatibility has become an issue, companies have had to look in other directions. It seems that the ARB is the up and coming strategy to manage this rebound motion.

Britax released a statement this week reporting that during testing, using both US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (CMVSS), the ARB was found to reduce the rebound rotation when rear facing in a crash by 40%, potentially providing a huge safety benefit to rear facing children. The ARB also improved stability to the car seat in frontal, rear-end and side-impact crashes. Since many parents express apprehensive about big kids rear facing in rear-end collisions, this news should also help allay some of those fears.

advocate

The Anti-Rebound Bar is currently being sold as an accessory for $39.99 for all ClickTight convertibles, but it will be available in select Advocate Clicktight ARB ($469.99) and Boulevard ClickTight ARB ($409.99) models starting in early September 2016. In store retailers will carry the Boulevard Clicktight ARB in the Solstice fashion (gray/black- the top picture), where online retailers will carry the ARB versions in the Circa fashion (black- the bottom picture). Look for a full review in the coming weeks, just as soon as we’ve had a chance to try out the Advocate and/or Boulevard ClickTight with Anti-Rebound Bar ourselves.

arb

For more information about Britax, visit us.britax.com and watch for a variety of activities during child passenger safety week, September 18-24.

Clek Fllo Convertible Giveaway for USA & Canada – More Blogiversary Awesomesauce!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

This summer marks eight full years of CarseatBlog.com! We can hardly believe it. It seems like the years are just Fllo-ing by! 😉

Along the way we’ve shared a lot of laughs, made some amazing friends, written about 1,400 blog posts and oh, yeah – reviewed over 100 carseats and boosters

Blog Team ABC 2014Whether you’re new to CarseatBlog.com or have been with us since the start in 2008 – we’d like to share our celebration with you. You are the reason we’re still here 8 years later, still blogging away, always looking for ways to improve our content and better serve our readers. The field of Child Passenger Safety is just starting to heat up and we can’t wait to see all the awesome advances in safety, technology and innovation that the next 8 years is going to bring. We hope you stick around and enjoy the ride with us!

fllo-tankThis week the Blogiversary Celebration continues with a Fllo Convertible, courtesy of our generous sponsor, ClekThe giveaway is open to residents of both USA and Canada! 🙂

Winner will have their choice of Noire, Shadow, Ink, Tank, Capri or Flamingo fashions.

Check out our full review of the Clek Fllo.

This promotion is now closed. Thank you for participating ~ a winner will be announced soon!

Clek Fllo Specs:

Rear-facing: 14-50 lbs., 25-43” tall and able to sit upright alone

Forward-facing: 22-65 lbs., 30-49”; age 2+ recommended

Fllo Features:

  • Designed to international best practices for extended rear-facing use up to 50 pounds, and comes standard with a steel anti-rebound for enhanced safety performance
  • Advanced side-impact protection protects the child in a side-impact collision with its adjustable structural headrest with deep side wings, energy absorbing foam layers and metal reinforced substructure
  • Automotive inspired EACT (Energy-Absorbing Crumple Technology) safety technology reduces the forces transmitted to a child in a collision using aluminum honeycomb deformable cores integrated into the seat base
  • Compact design makes for easy installation, and the best-in-class width at 17 inches, Fllo provides space that makes 3-across seating possible
  • Tailored in GREENGUARD Select Certified Crypton Super Fabrics, which provide permanent protection against stains, moisture and odor-causing bacteria; and are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants

How to Enter Clek Fllo Giveaway – USA & Canada

  • Leave us a comment below (required to be eligible to win), then click on Rafflecopter to qualify yourself.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now for the fine print – winner must have a USA or Canadian shipping address to claim the prize. Only one prize will be awarded. Only one entry per household/family, please. If you leave more than one comment, only the first one will count. We reserve the right to deem any entry as ineligible for any reason, though this would normally only be done in the case of a violation of the spirit of the rules above. We also reserve the right to edit/update the rules for any reason. The contest will close on September 11, 2016, and one random winner will be chosen shortly thereafter. If a winner is deemed ineligible based on shipping restrictions or other issues or does not respond to accept the prize within 7 days, a new winner will be selected. Good luck!

We don’t need no education…

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusmailFacebooktwittergoogle_plusmail

Okay, obviously not true but all I could do at open house this evening was sing Pink Floyd in my head and think of random Kindergarten Cop quotes. And come home to write this.

Dear teachers,

I bow to you. I really do.  As a mom who homeschooled and now is sending a kiddo to navigate the waters of school at his request, I don’t know how you do it. Teaching and corralling my own children is nerve wracking enough. I can’t imagine doing it with 20+ kids who aren’t even your own. Add the pressures of testing, teaching styles, grades, and various other controversial  topics and I imagine your days are just full of stress.

teacher

Let me just tell you something. Something that you may already know, but maybe just need to hear it again.

I don’t really care how my kid scores on all these exams in the long run. I don’t care if he’s top in his class. I don’t care if he won a spelling bee or if he’s a faster or slower reader than other kids. If the way it’s being taught doesn’t work for him, then we will find another way. As long as he’s doing his very best and is happy, then right now that is enough for me.

What I do care about is that he is learning to love and respect others. I feel like I’ve been teaching this at home, but it can only go so far when your world consists of your family and friends. His world is about to get a whole lot bigger, and I need you to help him navigate it. You are there on the front lines with him. I need you to be his role model and his platoon leader.

Obviously there are lots of things going on lately that are hateful and confusing. I feel like especially right now our society has reached a critical point where we need to alter our direction of where we’ve been heading in regards to basic respect and courtesy. Kids may not know the details but I guarantee you they know the underlying feel of it. I’ll be damned if my child ever feels it’s okay to hurt or belittle another person for who they are. So please, help my child feel safe to stand up for what’s right. Help his classmates embrace him for who he is and him to embrace them for who they are, each individually. Help him to trust his “inside feeling” when something isn’t right. If a child is lonely, encourage him to find a way to help. If he is the lonely one, encourage another child to do the same for him.

This all starts at home, and I need you to help me continue it at school.

I don’t care how fast he can do a math worksheet or how neat his handwriting is. I care about whether he’s happy. I care about what things make him happy. I care about whether he loves others as he loves himself and that he loves himself as he loves others. I tell him to always help others because it is the right thing to do. To always have open arms.  I need you to show him in action.

I’m sure this is redundant, and something you already do without question. Maybe I’m just writing this to reassure myself.

Thank you for teaching our kids math, handwriting, and all the other academic necessities that serve us well in life. But mostly thank you for training up our kids to be humans when they are with you. Good humans. Humane, kind, generous, strong humans who will steer humanity in the right direction. I could do it all by myself, but I’m choosing not to. I’m choosing not to because I feel like it takes a village, and our family extends beyond blood to the people around us that we share aspects of our life with.

 

From my hands to yours.

rabbit