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  1. #1
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Consumer Reports Safety Alert - (Withdrawn)

    http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/b...7_seats_ov.htm

    Safety alert: What if this were your child?
    Most infant car seats fail our new front- and side-crash tests


    A SIDE CRASH, UP CLOSE The Evenflo Discovery infant seat performed poorly in our new side-impact test, shown here. It also failed to meet the federal frontal-crash standard.
    You’d think that in a car crash, infants in their cozy car seats would be the most protected passengers of all. But you’d be wrong, our tests reveal.
    Consumer Reports Video
    SAFETY ALERT
    Infant Car Seats





    Cars and car seats can’t be sold unless they can withstand a 30-mph frontal crash. But most cars are also tested in a 35-mph frontal crash and in a 38-mph side crash. Car seats aren’t.


    When we crash-tested infant car seats at the higher speeds vehicles routinely withstand, most failed disastrously. The car seats twisted violently or flew off their bases, in one case hurling a test dummy 30 feet across the lab. Here are the details:
    Of 12 infant seats we tested, only 2 performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
    Nine infant seats provided poor protection in some or all of our tests, even though they meet the federal safety standard. One seat, the Evenflo Discovery, didn’t even meet that standard. We urge federal officials to order a recall of that seat.
    Infant car seats sold in Europe undergo more rigorous testing than do models sold in the U.S. Indeed, when we crash-tested an infant seat we bought in England, it was the best in our tests. An infant seat sold in the U.S. by the same manufacturer failed. (See European models.)
    Our findings offer added evidence of problems with LATCH, the federally mandated attachment system for child car seats. Most car seats performed worse with LATCH than with vehicle safety belts. And LATCH attachments aren’t always easy to use.
    One federal agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, regulates both vehicles and child car seats. Why aren’t car seats tested as rigorously as cars?


    NHTSA spokesman Rae Tyson says the U.S. car-seat standard is rigorous and that side-crash tests are problematic. For side crashes, “our engineers do not have a performance test they’re comfortable with,” he says.



    TOUGHER SAFETY TESTS


    Our new tests are tougher than the federal car-seat standard because a significant performance gap exists between vehicles and the car seats they carry.


    The federal New Car Assessment Program tests most cars and minivans, and some pickups and SUVs, in 35-mph frontal crashes and 38-mph side crashes. Scores in the form of “star” ratings are widely publicized, and as a result carmakers have improved the crash protection of vehicles. There has been no such incentive for the makers of child car seats sold in the U.S.


    The infant seats we evaluated are rear-facing carriers that snap in and out of a base. The base connects to the car by means of the vehicle’s safety belts or LATCH attachments. (LATCH, which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, includes belts that hook the base to metal anchors in the car.)


    We crash-tested multiple units of each infant seat. In some crashes we used vehicle safety belts to secure the base; in other tests we used LATCH attachments. The collisions mimic a crash in a Ford Explorer SUV, a popular family vehicle. (The Toyota Camry sedan crumples similarly, especially in a side crash, so we would expect comparable results for some sedans.)


    We used a test dummy weighing the maximum claimed weight for each seat. That’s 30 pounds for the Graco SafeSeat and 22 pounds for the others.


    In our 35-mph front-impact test, seven car seats failed. They separated from their bases, rotated too far, or would have inflicted grave injuries, as measured by our test dummy, whose sensors record the severity of impact. We retested these to see whether they passed the 30-mph federal standard. All passed except the Evenflo Discovery.


    When we performed side-impact tests at 38 mph, eight models failed. Four of the seats flew out of their bases.


    Three seats failed all our tough tests: the Evenflo Discovery, the Graco SafeSeat, and the Britax Companion, formerly our top-rated seat based on earlier tests that mirrored the federal standard. Most other tested seats passed either the front- or side-crash test in some configuration, though only the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS passed all our tests. (EPS stands for expanded polystyrene, a cushioning material.)


    Some Britax Companion seats were recalled in October 2006 because carriers were assembled incorrectly; we tested a later model. The Evenflo Discovery, which we deem Not Acceptable and believe should be recalled, was the subject of a NHTSA investigation in 2004 after the agency received seven reports about the carrier separating from its base. (Evenflo received 52 reports, 6 involving fatalities, NHTSA says.) NHTSA said it could not identify a safety defect and closed the investigation.


    The Eddie Bauer Comfort infant seat also had problems, specifically in our fit-to-vehicle test of one of two bases sold with the seat. Because of that test result we judge the seat Not Acceptable and believe the base should be recalled.


    Our trained car-seat installers could not get the base to fit securely in five different vehicles. The seat also performed poorly in our side-crash tests. The company Web site indicated that our model included a new and improved base.


    The Web site was wrong, which we learned when we later bought another sample of the seat and discovered a different base that fit better. We have also learned that the manufacturer will supply that base through a “customer satisfaction program” but only to those consumers who know to complain to the company. The car seat (also called the Caress Comfort) is being discontinued though it is still sold. We're crash-testing the seat with the other base. Results will be posted in our Ratings in the coming months.



    ONGOING PROBLEMS WITH LATCH


    No car seat can provide good protection if it’s not installed right, something that the LATCH system was devised to address. A tight fit is important for crash protection, and our testers find that you are more likely to get a secure fit with LATCH than with vehicle safety belts. Nevertheless, the car-seat tests underscore continuing problems. For example, more seats failed when attached with LATCH than with safety belts, even when the installation was done by professionals. The same has been true in our previous car-seat tests.


    Our tests suggest that infant car seats might be better secured if their bases were attached to floorboard anchor points in addition to existing LATCH anchors. Another improvement would be for the U.S. standard to allow for car-seat bases similar to many sold in Europe. They include a “foot” that adds stability in a frontal crash.

    VICTIMS Matthew Gallardo was killed and his older cousin, Arron, was injured in a side crash in which Matthew was ejected from his car seat. Below, Carlye Siebens holds her son, Landon, who was bruised in a collision when his car seat separated from its base.



    Another problem with LATCH is that anchors in many cars are hard to access. And most vehicles don’t have LATCH anchors in the safest seat in the car: the center rear. It can also be hard to adjust safety belts to a car seat located in the center rear.


    General Motors vehicles are an exception; many have center LATCH anchors. And some Ford models allow parents to use the inner two LATCH anchors from the outer seats to install a child seat in the center rear.


    NHTSA spokesman Tyson says the agency will hold a public hearing on LATCH probably in February; the date had not been set as of press time. LATCH has been successful, he says, but there are concerns. “The problem we have now,” he says, “is parents who are not installing the seats properly.”



    REAL-WORLD COLLISIONS


    All states and the District of Columbia require infants to be secured in car seats when traveling in passenger vehicles. Still, 572 infants under 1 year old were killed in traffic accidents from 2001 to 2005, with side crashes accounting for 151 of those deaths, or 26 percent, NHTSA data show.


    No one is saying that a car-seat standard with side-crash tests would prevent all deaths and injuries from side impacts. Still, the families of some victims say it would be an improvement.


    Mary and John Gallardo’s grandson, Matthew, was one of those victims. In March 2004, Matthew’s infant seat flew off its base in a side-impact crash on U.S. 49 in Harrison County, Miss., and he was ejected from the car. The Gallardos’ daughter, Candace, was also killed and another grandson, Arron, was injured. “This was devastating,” says John Gallardo, who wants car seats made so that they better withstand side crashes. “We just want to help see that no one else has to suffer what my family went through.”


    Carlye Siebens and her son Landon were luckier. In May 2006, after securing Landon in his car seat, Siebens pulled out from a stop sign near her home in Deland, Fla. Her car was broadsided, and Landon, then 7 months, suffered bruises and minor cuts when his car seat separated from its base and he landed face down. “The first thing I did was look in my mirror to check on my child, and he wasn’t where he had been,” Siebens says. “You assume the car seat would have been intact.”



    WHAT YOU CAN DO


    Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, strongly believes that NHTSA should strengthen safety testing for car seats so that it is comparable with the tests conducted on new cars. That means including a side-crash test. If the New Car Assessment Program is any indication, crash performance improves when results are publicized.


    The agency also needs to revisit the LATCH standard. Automakers should make anchors and tethers easy to access. And LATCH anchors should be required in center-rear seats.


    For now, here’s how to keep your baby as safe as possible while traveling:
    If you’re shopping for an infant car seat, buy one of the two we recommend. (See the Ratings.)
    If you already own a Chicco KeyFit, Compass I410, Evenflo Embrace, or Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP, use it with vehicle safety belts, which passed our tests, not with LATCH, which didn’t. If you can’t get a tight fit with the safety belt, buy one of the two seats we recommend.
    If you own a different infant seat, consider replacing it with the Baby Trend Flex-Loc or the Graco SnugRide with EPS.
    Secure your child in the center-rear seat if the car seat can be tightly fastened there. Go to www.nhtsa.gov to find a free car-seat inspection station near you.
    Send in the registration card that comes with new car seats, so that the manufacturer can contact you if the seat is recalled.
    Remember that any child car seat is better than no seat at all.
    Source: Consumers Union, www.consumerreports.org and the February, 2007 issue of Consumer Reports
    Last edited by SafeDad; 01-04-2007 at 06:58 PM.

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  3. #2
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    Thanks for posting the report.

    Do you think consumer reports is going to test convertable seats similarly?
    This is a stupid question: do you think the results of this may indicate that convertable seats are safer?
    ~Laura™ mom to Seamus (6) in a Regent and Mickey (4) in a ff Myride. Due 6/26/11 with Abigail Tucker, patiently awaiting the install of her Myride.

  4. #3
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    I haven't read the full article just yet but based on the responses from Britax & Evenflo (which I HATE their infant carriers anyways). I think it's wrong that they haven't allowed the car seat manufactures to see their protocalls & testing data. How are these manufactures going to make the proper changes if there is truly something wrong with their seats if they can't see the issue.

    I believe Britax & Chicco go above & beyond in their testing and find it odd the Companion & KeyFit to fail. I would really like to see more of their testing.

    I did miss the show. Did they show all these seats fail?

    This is going to start a panic just like the Kyle video did. So hold on tight techs as we gear up for round 2.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    side crashes.. if you go to the cr website they have a video of the discovery. Many left the bases. The thing is american seats aren't tested for side impact, it's not part of the standard, so even if britax and chicco go above and beyond, that doesn't automatically mean they're doing side impact testing. yk?

  6. #5
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    Quote Originally Posted by RubysGirl View Post
    side crashes.. if you go to the cr website they have a video of the discovery. Many left the bases. The thing is american seats aren't tested for side impact, it's not part of the standard, so even if britax and chicco go above and beyond, that doesn't automatically mean they're doing side impact testing. yk?
    I agree side impact is not part of standard testing. But, Britax & Chicco have said for years they do side impact testing. That is why I am questioning CR testing protocall. CR did this last year with the MA & LATCH and over rotation with a child at the upper rear facing weight limit. They didn't take other factors in place like a seatback in front of the seat to prevent the over rotation. The didn't take into place a child at 33lbs doesn't need to be at a full 45 degree recline. They also didn't take into place bracing. Again a lot of factors weren't taken into consideration. So, I just question CR testing after some of their questionable reviews in the past.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  7. #6
    CPS Advocate
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    but britax does test side impacts, how else would they be able to create their side impact seats?
    “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes...
    That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away AND you have their shoes.”

  8. #7
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    Can anyone else get the video on CR site to work? I can't get it to work and it's driving me NUTS now that I read the article. I want to see these seats in action.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  9. #8
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    I am so disturbed by these findings... my 6 month old is in a Graco Infant SafeSeat which I purchased after much research and discussions. The article recommends buying a new infant car seat if you have one of those 4. What would you all do.... should I just move him to a convertible? I also have a 3 year old Peg Preggo (it was used for 2 previous kids)which I guess I could use (installing with seat belt) until I purchase a new convertible. What would you all do? I still can not believe the SafeSeat did so poorly.... so many people use that car seat.

  10. #9
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    It plays okay for me. It's a very short 30 second clip showing the Discovery tumbling to the side of the test bench, no other seats are shown.
    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

  11. #10
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    Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Have you all seen the recently released Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash test results. Most of the infant car seats failed. If you go to Consumerreports.org you can read the article. I am so disturbed by these findings... my 6 month old is in a Graco Infant SafeSeat which I purchased after much research and discussions. The article recommends buying a new infant car seat if you have one of those 4 (one being the Graco SafeSeat). What would you all do.... should I just move him to a convertible? I also have a 3 year old Peg Preggo (it was used for 2 previous kids)which I guess I could use (installing with seat belt) until I purchase a new convertible. What would you all do? I still can not believe the SafeSeat did so poorly.... so many people use that car seat.

    Thanks so much for your help.

  12. #11
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    I would just go to a convertable myself, but one thing to consider is they used a 30lb dummy vs the 22lb dummy they used for the other seats. That's a lot more weight. I think they should have tested at 22lbs to show a comparison on how it performs to the other seats. For all we know the safeseat could perform better than all the others with a 22lb dummy.

  13. #12
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    First, I would take the magazine, roll it up, and use it to light a fire.

    Never listen to anything CR says about car seats. If you are looking for a new microwave, fine. A new washing machine, perhaps. College funding, maybe. A cell phone, wonderful. But go screaming into the night when they do car seats (in facts techs have been awaiting the onslaught of questions just like yours). CR doesn't release how they do their testing, or what any of it really means. Manufacturers have to test to the NHTSA's level. They do their own testing, and it's trustworthy because the NHTSA comes along behind and does some testing and if they find something wrong there's a recall put out, and you know what bad press a recall is. Even for something minor. So the manufacturers do their own testing all to the same federal standard and we all know what comes out of it. No one has any idea how CR tests, or what their results mean.

    If your seat is used properly for your child, is installed in the car properly, and you like it, then continue using it. The Safeseat is a wonderful seat. All seats out there have passed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213 (that's the one that pertains to car seats, 225 is LATCH, and 208 are car safety standards like the seatbelt and such) and so provided they're used properly every seat out there is as safe as the next. The $40 Scenera is just as safe as the $300 Britax Boulevard. Safer, if the Scenera is properly installed and used and the Britax isn't.

    Enjoy your seat. It's a fun one. :-)

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    You are correct about the dummy size.

    I should probably just move him to the convertible. I was hoping to wait until he sits up better but now feel like the safeseat is anything but safe!

    I have a Britax Marathon for my 2 year old, and have liked it. Would you all recommend the Marathon over the Boulevard? Are the safety ratings the same?

  15. #14
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by jengold View Post
    You are correct about the dummy size.

    I should probably just move him to the convertible. I was hoping to wait until he sits up better but now feel like the safeseat is anything but safe!

    I have a Britax Marathon for my 2 year old, and have liked it. Would you all recommend the Marathon over the Boulevard? Are the safety ratings the same?
    The Marathon and Boulevard are both very safe seats. Both have side impact protection, EPS foam, wide harnesses that don't twist, lots of good things. The Boulevard has the head wings and adjustable headrest, which is nice. Safety wise, ease wise, and sleeping comfort wise. But you'll lose a little harness height on the Boulevard.

    It's up to you. They both perform very well, just like any other seat that's used properly. :-)

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  16. #15
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Wendy
    Thanks so much for your reply.... I was worried about even driving down my driveway with my son in the SafeSeat.

    Just wondering, but in your opinion are convertible seats safer than the infant carriers? I have always worried about them popping out and rebounding in an accident. I am still inclined to move my 6 month old to a convertible car seat sooner.

    Thanks again
    Jen

  17. #16
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by jengold View Post
    You are correct about the dummy size.

    I should probably just move him to the convertible. I was hoping to wait until he sits up better but now feel like the safeseat is anything but safe!

    I have a Britax Marathon for my 2 year old, and have liked it. Would you all recommend the Marathon over the Boulevard? Are the safety ratings the same?
    I wouldn't go move him out of his infant carrier if he still is within the height & weight recommendations for the seat. I esp wouldn't go move him just because Consumer Reports put out a bad article.

    Trust me this isn't the first time they have done with and have not released their testing or data to car seat manufactures. They did this last year to the Marathon but failed to take into account a lot of real world (aka: our vehicles) factors. So, Take what CR says with a grain of salt and keep using your SafeSeat as long as your child is within the weight & height recommendations and you have it installed per your vehicle & car seat manufacture guidelines. If you are in doubt seek the help of a child passenger safety tech in your area to check your installation and how your using it.

    The safest car seat for your child is one that fits your child, fits your vehicle & that you use correctly each and every single time.
    Jenny
    Senior CPS Tech-Instructor & Mommy of 2 girls
    K1 12 yrs old- 61" & 100lbs in vehicle seat belt
    K2 10 yrs old- 59" & 92lbs in vehicle seat belt

  18. #17
    Admin - CPST Instructor wendytthomas's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Quote Originally Posted by jengold View Post
    Wendy
    Thanks so much for your reply.... I was worried about even driving down my driveway with my son in the SafeSeat.

    Just wondering, but in your opinion are convertible seats safer than the infant carriers? I have always worried about them popping out and rebounding in an accident. I am still inclined to move my 6 month old to a convertible car seat sooner.

    Thanks again
    Jen
    What Jenny said above. If your son fits and you use it properly, then feel free to continue using it.

    It's supposed to rebound. :-) That's what infant seats do. The only one on the US market I believe that doesn't is the Britax Companion with the anti-rebound bar. Otherwise every infant seat will rebound toward the back during a collision. It's designed that way, and it's fine.

    Is a convertible safer? Depends. Does your son fit in it well? Harness snug, at or below his shoulders, recline angle good for him? If so, then he's fine to be in it. If he's short torsoed and the lowest harness slots are still a bit above his shoulders (Britax has ok'ed I think a half inch or so for the harness to be above the shoulders, but only if you have the harness done very snugly), or if you can't get it to work properly, then he's safer in the infant seat.

    If you're not comfortable with him in the infant seat, and he fits in the convertible, there's nothing wrong with moving him. If you're just freaked by the CR article and want to move him on that basis, if he fits, then fine. If not, then take the magazine and..... shred it for the cats to piss on. Probably a fitting end.

    Whatever your choice, provided your son fits and the seat is installed properly and you're using it properly, it's safe and it's your choice.

    (don't you hate that techs don't give you yes or no answers? LOL)

    Wendy
    wendy, cpst-i mom to
    piper, 7/26/02, 62", 108#, seatbelt, driving her own car
    laine 9/16/09, 54", 96#, Nuna Aaces, Diono Solana 2
    in my husband's 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser, my 2017 Volvo XC90, and big sister's 2016 Honda Civic
    https://www.car-seat.org/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1353&dateline=1552329  785

  19. #18
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    Quote Originally Posted by Synchro246 View Post
    Thanks for posting the report.

    Do you think consumer reports is going to test convertable seats similarly?
    This is a stupid question: do you think the results of this may indicate that convertable seats are safer?

    I do not know when the next test of convertible seats is. Without knowing anything about how they test, it is impossible to say if they would perform better in general. One factor that could help convertible seats is that they don't have the same detachable carrier that apparently separated in many of the Consumer Reports tests.

  20. #19
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Consumer Reports Safety Alert

    Does it work for you if you go to their home page and access the article that way? A while back they changed their website making it more difficult to link to individual pages:-(

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    Re: Consumer Report Infant Car Seat Crash Tests

    Thank you again Wendy

    I am totally reacting to the CR article. I am actually a Neuropsychologists and see tons of head injuries secondary to car accidents so am neurotic about car seats. I am fairly confident the SafeSeat is installed correctly (have had the police dept check it) and my son is in the seat correctly. I really appreciate your feedback and will continue using the safe seat until I orginally planned on moving him to a convertible.

    One other question (you have been very helpful)... I check my carseats very regularly to make sure they are installed well and the SafeSeat does seem to need to be tighten more than my 2 year olds Marathon. I have it installed using LATCH.. any suggestions??
    Thanks again
    Jen

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