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  1. #1
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...7BpXgD8UGE0R80

    Parents who struggle to install their child safety seats or fasten their toddlers in the back-seat chairs are receiving some new guidance from the government.

    The Transportation Department said Wednesday it was revamping a consumer ratings system for child safety seats to help parents and caregivers make the best choice for their kids.

    The new approach will use a five-star rating system, based on the seats' ability to secure a child and the ease with which the seats are installed. It will also consider the seats' labeling and instruction manuals.
    How is this different from the current way the Ease of Use Ratings are calculated?

    And I don't think ease of use ratings are even all that helpful. A particular seat may be easy in one vehicle and super-difficult, or totally incompatible, in another vehicle. These ratings don't take that into account, and seats that get a good rating might be improperly installed and forgotten about, never being checked by a CPST, because parents will think, "well, NHTSA says it's one of the easiest to install, so it must be OK the way it is".
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by scatterbunny View Post
    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...7BpXgD8UGE0R80



    How is this different from the current way the Ease of Use Ratings are calculated?

    And I don't think ease of use ratings are even all that helpful. A particular seat may be easy in one vehicle and super-difficult, or totally incompatible, in another vehicle. These ratings don't take that into account, and seats that get a good rating might be improperly installed and forgotten about, never being checked by a CPST, because parents will think, "well, NHTSA says it's one of the easiest to install, so it must be OK the way it is".
    Thanks for posting this, Scatterbunny. I also see the potential for a star rating system for ease of use to be easily confused with the crash test safety rating system NHTSA uses for vehicle crash test scores. The previous NHTSA ease of use rating system, albeit generally flawed, at least used letter grades for carseats instead of stars.
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

    Click here if you wish to view the full size version of my avatar

  4. #3
    Carseat Crazy SillyLily's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    User reviews of any product are usually very skewed. Just look at the reviews on babiesrus or amazon. Great products have so-so ratings, crummy products have 5 stars. Parents give bad ratings to car seats based on the fact that "they don't fit in the top of a cart" or because "my two year old didn't fit right in the booster seat, the shoulder strap kept rubbing his neck." Or "I absolutely love the mighty tight, it's so wonderful and I think it really makes my seat much safer."

    A good rating system would be one that only CPSTs could submit reviews/ratings to.

    Mindy, mom to Sicily (age 5, 37 lbs, Radian 80 princess), Lily (age 3, 30 lbs., FF in a Maxi Cosi Priori or Radian XT), and Liam (born in January, riding in a cowmoo Britax Chaperone)

  5. #4
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by SillyLily View Post
    A good rating system would be one that only CPSTs could submit reviews/ratings to.


    Unfortunately, folks will think NHTSA is the expert, and if they say a seat gets 5 stars, that's the seat parents will want. What they don't realize is that the seat may have been labeled well and installed well in whatever test seat NHTSA used, but it may not fit well in the parents' specific vehicle.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  6. #5
    CPS Technician Namegirl's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Considering how vastly different various children and various cars are, these ratings are fairly useless, IMO.
    Namegirl
    DD in Turbo
    DS in Turbo, Pioneer
    DS in Diono
    DD in Britax B-Safe

  7. #6
    CPS Fanatic Lea_Ontario's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by SillyLily View Post
    A good rating system would be one that only CPSTs could submit reviews/ratings to.
    Completely discounting those people who are informed, knowledgeable and such - just because they haven't taken a course ?
    Mama to :
    Boo (2002), apramo backless booster
    Bug (2004), Parkway SGL
    Bear (2006), Parkway SGL

  8. #7
    Senior Community Member scatterbunny's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Kashi, I think her point is that to truly be able to say, across the board, that a certain seat is easy to use and easy to install requires a degree of knowledge most folks don't have. Most CPSTs who work at fitting stations regularly deal with the same seats and same vehicles over and over and develop a good sense of which seats are almost always an easy install and which ones aren't.
    ~Jenny

    "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." ~Abraham Joshua Hesche

  9. #8
    Carseat Crazy SillyLily's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by Kashi View Post
    Completely discounting those people who are informed, knowledgeable and such - just because they haven't taken a course ?


    I consider myself informed and knowledgeable, but not nearly so much as someone who has been specifically trained and has extensive experience installing car seats.

    But mostly it would be because if it is open to everyone, then that means that not only will the informed and knowledgeable people help create the rating, but also the scarry people that are car seat nightmares.
    Last edited by SillyLily; 01-30-2008 at 09:01 PM. Reason: typo

    Mindy, mom to Sicily (age 5, 37 lbs, Radian 80 princess), Lily (age 3, 30 lbs., FF in a Maxi Cosi Priori or Radian XT), and Liam (born in January, riding in a cowmoo Britax Chaperone)

  10. #9
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Too bad this board doesn't have an ease-of-use rating system. It could be like rep points, only for carseats! And techs and admins and knowledgeable folks would have heavier-weighted points. Ooo, and we could rate them by car, too, wouldn't that be cool?
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  11. #10
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus UlrikeDG's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    I've seriously considered trying to take on a project like that, Debbie.

    The first major flaw I see on the NHTSA ratings is that they have front facing harnesed/booster seats listed as "Convertibles". These seats cannot be used rear facing and are not convertible seats.
    Ulrike, mom to:
    Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)


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  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy SillyLily's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by Defrost View Post
    Too bad this board doesn't have an ease-of-use rating system. It could be like rep points, only for carseats! And techs and admins and knowledgeable folks would have heavier-weighted points. Ooo, and we could rate them by car, too, wouldn't that be cool?
    See, perfect. That way everyone's opinion gets taken into account, and there is still a way to "offset" any bogus ratings.

    Mindy, mom to Sicily (age 5, 37 lbs, Radian 80 princess), Lily (age 3, 30 lbs., FF in a Maxi Cosi Priori or Radian XT), and Liam (born in January, riding in a cowmoo Britax Chaperone)

  13. #12
    Moderator - CPSTI Emeritus Defrost's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    I have too, actually. I'll email you later tonight, I'm heading out for a bit.
    Debbie, CPST-I
    driving my '07 Mazda5 with
    Thomas (18) * Sam (17) * Patrick (15) * Macha (13)
    Safely secured with seat belts - everyone, every ride!

  14. #13
    CPS Technician Victorious4's Avatar
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    Quote Originally Posted by UlrikeDG View Post
    The first major flaw I see on the NHTSA ratings is that they have front facing harnesed/booster seats listed as "Convertibles". These seats cannot be used rear facing and are not convertible seats.


    A new five star government rating system will grade child safety seats on how easy they are to properly install, and will help guide parents and caregivers in choosing the right car seat to keep their children safe, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced today.
    . . .
    "Even the safest car seat can't protect a child if it isn't installed correctly," Secretary Peters said. "These new star ratings arm parents with the best information and challenge manufacturers to make car seats that are easier for parents to use."
    A few things on my mind to warn caregivers about....

    1. it's subjective (carseat:vehicle compatability / carseat:child compatability / carseat:adult compatability) -- every adult, child & vehicle is different -- the same carseat does not always work the same way for every adult, for all children or in various vehicles

    2. *HELP GUIDE* are the key words. This is not a definitive final answer type of rating

    3. We can only merely continue to hope that this is 1 step closer to vehicle + carseat manufacturers working together to make more carseats fit more vehicles more easily. Techs have been waiting for that to happen for, what, decades already?!
    Last edited by Victorious4; 02-05-2008 at 09:17 AM.
    TIFF ~ doula & all hours childcare provider
    SCARLA: winter '02 . . . Jr. Roller Derby level III
    BEAR: spring '11 ... Recaro Sport + Clek Oobr
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    childcare: 0-7yrs... Contender + Frontier Clicktight
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  15. #14
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: US Unveils New Child Seat Ratings System

    This article ran in my local paper with a picture of a T-shield car seat. Gotta love the media some days.

    I personally am so great full for this site and continue to spread the word about it. I've learned more here than anywhere else about seat options, installs, etc. Thank you to you all.

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