Infant Car Seats and Broadside Crashes: Test Results from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports announced today that car seats for infants often fail to withstand the impact of vehicle accidents when a car is struck by another from the side. Of the models tested in simulations of such impacts, ten failed, some “disastrously,” according to the magazine’s February issue.

The car seats are rear-facing models that are required in Maryland for infants up to 1 year old or about 22 pounds. Car seat manufacturers are required to test the seats for head-on accidents, but not for broadside crashes, which kill about 30 infants a year in the United States.

As I write this post, my wife is out purchasing new car seats for our almost three month-twins as I expect are a lot other people in Maryland and around the country today. The irony of all of this is that I love Consumer Reports, to the point where I rarely buy anything other than their top rated product. The car seats we have now are made by Britax, a product that Consumer Reports had previously rated, you guess it, number #1. Britax also failed the test.

The other problem is just how often these seats get recalled.  All too frequently, you hear about a child seat that has this problem or that problem.  Look, every product needs to be safe.  But when we are talking about our smallest and most vulnerable, the importance of being safe has to be amplified.

You should keep you head up for recalls.

Maryland Law for Booster Seats

Last night, I saw a parent driving to my son’s baseball game with his 7 year old son in the front seat.  In 2005, why?  Why?  Maryland law requires unambiguously requires kids under 8 to ride in the back seat with a car seat and booster seat unless they are 4’9″or taller. This kid is 3’5 if he is an inch.

At least that was what I thought the law was until I researched this post. Kids do not have to be in the back seat.  I had no idea.  I thought for sure that was the law.  It should be.  Certainly, every expert recommends that children under age 13 ride in the back seat of the car.  I don’t know why you stop at 13, really. Children are said to be 40% less likely to be badly hurt or killed when belted in the back seat.

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