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  1. #1
    Moderator MomToEliEm's Avatar
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    Chicago Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Here is an interesting article published today from the Chicago Tribune website. I guess maybe it will be published tomorrow since it has 3/1/09 for the date, but on the website a day earlier.

    Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'
    As transportation secretary orders review of safety standards, makers of baby restraints question crash results
    By Patricia Callahan | Tribune Reporter
    March 1, 2009

    In a government crash-test video, the infant car seat flies off its base, smashing the baby dummy — still strapped into the carrier — upside down and face-first into the back of the driver's seat.

    Think what could happen in a real crash.

    This seat was one of 31 that either flew off their bases or exceeded injury limits in a series of frontal crashes conducted by federal researchers using 2008 model year vehicles, a Tribune investigation found. The test results were never publicized, and even some infant-seat makers were unaware of their existence.
    ...
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/n...1.story?page=1

    Here is there listing of different infant seat test results:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/n...94939.htmlpage
    Last edited by MomToEliEm; 02-28-2009 at 12:42 PM.
    Katy

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  3. #2
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    "Graco executives said there were too many uncontrolled variables in all of the tests to draw any conclusions about any of the seats. They cautioned consumers not to compare one seat to another based on these tests. “I don’t think we’re yet at a point where this is terribly meaningful data in the child restraint world,” said Dave Galambos, a Graco engineer."

    I tend to agree. They did all these different cars, etc. Who installed?

  4. #3
    Admin - CPST Instructor Kecia's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Judi View Post
    I tend to agree. They did all these different cars, etc. Who installed?

    "The allegation that the infant seats were improperly installed during NHTSA's tests was common among the car seat makers. But federal safety officials stressed that all car seats for the tests were installed by highly trained technicians. In tests where manufacturers told the Tribune their seats were incorrectly installed, NHTSA officials juxtaposed crash photos and owner's manual diagrams to prove the seats were installed properly."

  5. #4
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    This is my favorite quote....

    'Car seats save lives. If infant seats performed as poorly on American roads as they did in these crash tests, said Ron Medford, NHTSA's acting deputy administrator, "We would expect to see higher numbers of fatalities or serious injuries than we're aware of."'
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  6. #5
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Kecia View Post
    "The allegation that the infant seats were improperly installed during NHTSA's tests was common among the car seat makers. But federal safety officials stressed that all car seats for the tests were installed by highly trained technicians. In tests where manufacturers told the Tribune their seats were incorrectly installed, NHTSA officials juxtaposed crash photos and owner's manual diagrams to prove the seats were installed properly."
    Yep, I took the special needs class with a "highly trained tech". I was ready to pound my head against a wall. Not all techs are created equal.

  7. #6
    Admin - CPST Instructor Kecia's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Of course I agree that not all techs are equal. But if you're a NHTSA technician and you're installing a seat for a crash test then I'd like to have a little faith that it was installed according to the manufacturer's specific instructions.

    I'm not sure if all the same procedures apply to these tests, but when lab technicians test CRs on the sled bench to see if they meet all 213 standards - these tests are set up and carried out with meticulous attention to every detail. I know that's true with the IIHS tests as well.

    On the other hand, if the seat(s) really weren't installed properly by the "highly trained technicians" - what hope does the average parent have of getting it right?

  8. #7
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    No chance, really, with close to 100% misuse in my area.

  9. #8
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    does anyone understand how the same carseat can fly off the base when installed in one car and not another? Is it that some cars are better at dissipating force? it just doesn't make much sense to me, it seems that either the carseat is designed right and it cant snap off the base, or it's not.
    DD 5.5yo, 38lbs, 43" - FF in a Radian XT and Frontier85 SICT
    DS 3yo, 33lbs, 38" - RF in Radian XT and Britax MT

  10. #9
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    See, that freaks me out.

  11. #10
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    It seems that when NHTSA tests vehicles for safety, they're testing for driver safety only. Sure there's always going to be a driver, but we need to realize that vehicles are for transportation and often carry backseat passengers too.

    I think it's fair to wonder about the qualifications of the techs who installed the test seats. Just as we know that techs who are fresh out of the class (who take the class for their jobs and haven't felt the pull to this field like we have) don't have the most top notch skills, we wonder about who these guys are. I really feel for the person who's new and has to figure out the Latch Loc just by reading *that* manual.

  12. #11
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    The seats may or may not have been installed properly, but if you watch the videos, the bases stays in place and the harness looks good, and the seat just flies away
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  13. #12
    CPST/Firefighter Judi's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    This has always bugged me.

    "You can compare safety ratings for cars, but not for the safety of car seats."

  14. #13
    Admin - CPST Instructor Kecia's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    I find this information rather unsettling as well:

    "... a problem with the back seat can have a dramatic effect on child safety restraints. Photos from NHTSA's testing show that the back seat of the model-2008 Infiniti EX35 hatchback moved so much during its frontal crash test that the bottom and top seat cushions separated. Both the Combi Connection and the Graco SnugRide in that test exceeded limits for head and chest injuries in that crash.

    The strap that fastens between the baby's legs on the Combi Connection ripped out of the infant carrier, a structural failure that didn't happen in a subsequent crash test in a Saturn Vue SUV where the back seat remained intact. The Infiniti has a four-star frontal crash rating."

    I'll be honest, I have never worried about the integrity of the backseat in any vehicle. Until now. And this really pisses me off because there are so many other things to consider every time I try to make an educated decision regarding my children in motor vehicles. I really don't need to add one more worry (particularly something that I cannot control or influence) to that plate.

  15. #14
    CPS Technician sbreden44's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by Judi View Post
    This has always bugged me.

    "You can compare safety ratings for cars, but not for the safety of car seats."
    I agree.

    I'm afraid the average reader will not grasp why this is though. Most consumers I encounter feel that if they follow consumer reports buying recommendations that they are subscribing to "safety ratings."

    News writers never convey (although the Tribune writer one hints at it) that "safety ratings" are of little value when they exist because variables relating to what car one is installing the restraint in and if correct installation was acheived are so numerous.

    Car safety ratings simply have less variables to contend with to establish useful baselines for the consumer.

  16. #15
    CPS Technician NannyMom's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Why did they only release some of the videos, not all? After reading how the SS1 did in a Toyota Sequoia, it makes me nervous about the SS1 in my Sienna. But, at least it stayed on the base.

    If these are NHTSAs own tests, why are the seats still on the market? Not that I think they should all be pulled. I'm just wondering. I understand the flaws to the Consumer Reports tests. But isn't this different? Or am I missing something?
    Mama to Sofi: 7.1 yrs, 46Lbs (47"), Boostered in a Turbo, Vivo, Monterey, Cybex; harnessed in Nautilus
    Nanny to BabyD, 21 months in a RXT, Classic Marathon, Boulevard 70

  17. #16
    CPS Fanatic mominabigtruck's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    I'm not saying the installs weren't correct because from what I could see you couldn't see the bases in any of the videos. BUT, is anyone else wondering how they got a discovery outboard in a midsized sedan with the handle down with the requisite 1 1/2 inches??
    If it seems like I'm not making sense, it's probably just my phone

  18. #17
    CPS Fanatic sb518's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Those cars were run into a wall at 35mph. Can you imagine the force of another car going 35mph and hitting that one head on?

  19. #18
    Senior Community Member Jennifer mom to my 7's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    See, but I still don't think that crashing a car into a wall at 35 mph simulates a real life crash, unless you are crashing into a brick wall. I noticed most of the handles were down, except the combis, which is required to be up, so they must have read manuals.

    I am glad that someone has finally realized to take back seat passengers and restraints into account. I also think they may have installed the seats using the 1 inch of movement at the belt path.
    Whatever Wendy said

    "No one else will ever know the strength of my love for you, after all, you're the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." -Unknown

  20. #19
    Admin - CPS Technician joolsplus3's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    Quote Originally Posted by mominabigtruck View Post
    I'm not saying the installs weren't correct because from what I could see you couldn't see the bases in any of the videos. BUT, is anyone else wondering how they got a discovery outboard in a midsized sedan with the handle down with the requisite 1 1/2 inches??
    Is it that hard to do when there's no front passenger?
    Julie
    CPST since 2003, pu"R"ple since 2008, three kids growing too fast since 1997, 1999 and 2006

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good

  21. #20
    CPS Technician cryswilkins's Avatar
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    Re: Chicaco Tribune Article (3/1/09) Titled "Car seat tests reveal 'flaws'"

    You know, in the article they talk about the SS1 mainly. It only came off the base in one of the cars that they tested it in. I would have to consider that a flawed test, if it only happened once, until they can replicate it.

    Crystal, CPST Mama to Zoe 11/30/2006 , Ollie 1/3/2010 , Eli 9/24/2012 and Baby Isabel 7/23/2015

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