FMVSS 213 compliance testing

romanoma

New member
most of us members here do know that fit is one of the most important things to consider when choosing a seat, it just wasn't stated as a caveat to this thread. It is good for public viewers to see and know that when reading this thread.

Most of us here also agree that sled bench testing is woefully inadequate in telling us how a seat will perform with real kids in real life in a real crash. But our current situation is it is all we have. it is impossible to test all seats in all cars in all types of crashes. So this is a standard way to compare how seats perform and be sure they meet minimum requirements, albeit only in one narrow situation. This is the testing we are left with to try to make educated choices for our kids. So we try to extrapolate the data to our car/kid/situation. That may not be a perfect application, but it is the best we can do currently. If our musing and extrapolating is horribly misleading to public viewers, then maybe this thread should be moved downstairs (which I don't think it is, but perhaps just stating that these are opinions and not fact is enough).

I do think this data is important, as it is a way to see performance side by side, head to head, of different seats. We don't know for sure if a seat that tested well here will always perform well, but it is a good starting point. I'd rather start with a known good data point than a known less good data point.

There are obviously many factors to consider when choosing a seat, and while this is certainly not the most important, I think this data can help in making some decisions in specific situations, as in the "no top tether" scenerio.
 
ADS

vonfirmath

New member
One thing this does make me wonder is if I should be planning to switch to the Nautilus sooner after my son goes FF rather than later.

It can't be immediate. We can't afford that, period.

If I'd had these numbers at the beginning of the summer, I might have gotten a Nautilus instead of a Roundabout 50 and turned my son then in one car.
 

crunchierthanthou

New member
If I'd had these numbers at the beginning of the summer, I might have gotten a Nautilus instead of a Roundabout 50 and turned my son then in one car.
but he wasn't even two yet then. Focus on keeping him safest right now. Although the sled tests are a bit ambiguous, there is one thing we know for sure. Rear facing is several times safer than forward facing without regard to seat or vehicle. While it appears the GN performed better than a ff Britax convertible in this test, staying rf is safer in almost all cases. There are several lessons in this data, including to keep your kids rf if possible, and to use the tether when they must go ff.
 

vonfirmath

New member
Well, that's why I got the Roundabout 50, to keep him RFing longer. With the Scenera we tried he'd have been FF immediately because I could only install it myself FF. So I convinced my husband to spend the extra money as "my" birthday gift to get the Roundabout 50 instead. The other thing we considered was a Nautilus since that is the seat we plan to get when he outgrows the current seats. Thus my comment.

I don't know whether to trust tethering in my car or not. The tether points are in a weird spot (which reminds me I need to get pictures taken. Someone asked!)
 

carseatcoach

Carseat Crankypants
We don't know for sure if a seat that tested well here will always perform well, but it is a good starting point. I'd rather start with a known good data point than a known less good data point.
Exactly.

It is not everything. It is not even the most important thing -- that would be choosing a well-fitting and properly-used seat of the appropriate type (rear-facing for children who can be, and top-tethered when forward-facing). But as far as objective data, it's all we've got, and I think it matters. I do not think anyone should toss a properly-used seat over these tests, but I think they're worth considering as part of the equation, especially when a new seat is needed anyhow.

But. Even if you (general you, not any specific poster) is uncomfortable using this data to choose a specific seat for a specific child in a specific car, there's plenty of valuable information. We see how top tethers reduce head excursion and head injury. And while I'm not done reading all the linked reports, it looks to me that in almost all cases, a 6yo tests better in a booster than in an untethered harnessed seat. I had suspected this, but if the data continues to bear it out, it's important news.
 

Maedze

New member
I understand the tests are important, and that a seat must pass. My question was in regard to how the results are being interpreted here. It's widely accepted that in the real world, a seat that has the best fit is safer, but that fact seems to be ignored when judging the results of these tests. I didn't see why this would be any different when comparing them. It seems t
That's because the premise that the best seat is the one that offers the best fit is BASED on the belief that ALL seats pass basic minimum standards.

If a seat does NOT pass, the fit becomes irrelevant. If a company (coughBRITAXcough) rides on the coattails of former greatness, and clear testing results show that it's not up to snuff compared to other brands, it's extremely worthwhile to have a discussion about that.

NHTSA and the government made an extremely poor, in my opinion, decision to not release clear, annual safety ratings of child restraints. Advocates and technicians owe it to the community they serve to learn as much as they can about these products so certain companies (coughBRITAXcough) are forced to change.
 

Maedze

New member
One thing this does make me wonder is if I should be planning to switch to the Nautilus sooner after my son goes FF rather than later.

It can't be immediate. We can't afford that, period.

If I'd had these numbers at the beginning of the summer, I might have gotten a Nautilus instead of a Roundabout 50 and turned my son then in one car.
For a less than two year old? No, that certainly wouldn't have been an improvement in safety.
 

BigDaddy

New member
That's because the premise that the best seat is the one that offers the best fit is BASED on the belief that ALL seats pass basic minimum standards.

If a seat does NOT pass, the fit becomes irrelevant. If a company (coughBRITAXcough) rides on the coattails of former greatness, and clear testing results show that it's not up to snuff compared to other brands, it's extremely worthwhile to have a discussion about that.

NHTSA and the government made an extremely poor, in my opinion, decision to not release clear, annual safety ratings of child restraints. Advocates and technicians owe it to the community they serve to learn as much as they can about these products so certain companies (coughBRITAXcough) are forced to change.
:confused: That's not what I was talking about at all.
 

Maedze

New member
:confused: That's not what I was talking about at all.
:cool: Ok, so we're on two different wavelengths here. :cool:

What I was understanding you saying is that you were concerned a discussion about the testing results would give parents the wrong idea when we tell them to buy the seat that fits their child.


Can you clarify?
 

BigDaddy

New member
:cool: Ok, so we're on two different wavelengths here. :cool:

What I was understanding you saying is that you were concerned a discussion about the testing results would give parents the wrong idea when we tell them to buy the seat that fits their child.


Can you clarify?
Basically, what I was saying is considering all seats must pass these tests...

We all know the safest seat is the one with the best fit, and that doesn't seem to be taken into consideration when everyone is interpreting these results. My point is that if the safest seat is the one that fits the best, that means that these tests aren't telling you which seats are the safest, they are telling you which seats fit a test sled and a dummy the best.

So, if a parent drives a test sled and has a crash test dummy, then these results may actually reflect the safest seat for them, but for those that don't, they may erroneously buy an ill-fitting seat, based on the results and interpretations posted here.
 

carseatcoach

Carseat Crankypants
I think most of us have been very clear that proper fit and use (rear-facing to the limits, top-tethered when FFing) is the most important thing. No one is suggesting tossing properly used seats to shop strictly by the numbers on the list. That would be foolish. But, IMO, it would also be foolish to dismiss these results -- unlike the TC tests (which were not intended to test the seats themselves), these are standardized and a good snapshot of how the seats perform under certain conditions.
 

BigDaddy

New member
But, IMO, it would also be foolish to dismiss these results -- unlike the TC tests (which were not intended to test the seats themselves), these are standardized and a good snapshot of how the seats perform under certain conditions.
I'm not dismissing the results at all, they serve their purpose of telling which seats pass the minimum standards, I'm just saying that the numbers shouldn't be used as a rating system to determine the best seat, because the best seat depends on the situation, and different seats will behave differently in those situations.
 

Maedze

New member
No one is rating the best seat. People are discussing that the numbers are not reflective of how companies represent themselves. That's very important.

Honestly, there needs to be an annual, thorough rating system involving front and side crashes at different speeds and angles. The numbers need to be organized and made public. Until that happens, we take what we can get, including this, and use it to make deductions and hopefully force companies to improve.
 

jujumum

New member
I just sorted the spreadsheet by age and HE numbers. Many of the seats have better HE scores with a seatbelt only (no tether) than some others (namely Britax) with a seatbelt and top tether.

Why is it always recommended to use a top tether across the board?

In my van (no lower anchors), only Britax seats can fit in the row with the top tether (due to my fixed buckle stalks). Any seat can fit in the 3rd row with no tether. Based on the TC videos and these scores, I'm leaning towards putting my nearly 4 yo in a different seat in the 3rd row (namely a GN). Is something wrong with my logic and this plan?

On another note, I drank the Britax koolaid a long time ago. Why? Why was I a 'believer'? Because, when I had my first two I couldn't afford a Britax. There is this perception out there (not on this board, of course) with the masses that Britax is the most expensive and the best, and that since it has a name and costs so much more, then it must be better. I had a hard time converting to a GN (we now have one in DH's van). Although I loved the seat, I felt that it didn't cost enough and I didn't want to be cheap by buying a made in China less expensive seat. I wanted the Britax - made in USA and $$$$.

Now, I feel like I've been dupped by the Britax mythology and disappointed and somewhat angry at the company. Based on the TC videos, these scores, and actually comparing the design and construction of the GN compared to the Britax convertibles & FN, it is my new love. Oh, and the video of the harness ripping through the MT ff also helped to cure me of my Britax blindness (seeing as the MT is the cousing of the FN).
 

TechnoGranola

Forum Ambassador
Am I correct that the largest dummy used for RF was teh 12 month dummy? And as such, there are no results as to how these seats perform RF for older/larger children?
 

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
I'm not dismissing the results at all, they serve their purpose of telling which seats pass the minimum standards, I'm just saying that the numbers shouldn't be used as a rating system to determine the best seat, because the best seat depends on the situation, and different seats will behave differently in those situations.
I think I can see what you are saying. Basically, you are scared people who take these results and base their decisiosn on the testing, and not what best fits their child, their car, etc...sort of the same way many parents currently perceive Britax to be the "best" seat and therefore buy one even if it isn't the best seats for their needs. Obviously, both of those are sub-optimal situations.
But, i think as was pointed out earlier, that ALL THINGS BEING EQUAL (by that, meaning of course that the seat installs well in a vehicle, and fits the child correctly) there is possibly some value in choosing a seat which tested better. That might not bethe purpose of the tests, but I think it is a potentially legitimate use of the data. I know that personally, when I look at something like the Truefit which has HICs almost exclusively in the 200s, versus another seat which maybe has HIC's entirely in the 600-800's, I'm going to pick the seat with an HIC that is significantly less by a factor of 3 or 4...why wouldn't I?
Passing simply isn't good enough...many parents want to do what is BEST for their child. The guy who graduated last in his class in med school is still a doctor...but you know what? I'm probably going to try and use someone who did a little bit better, to be honest.
There certainly are tons of variables, and no, I don't personally drive a bench sled, LOL. But when I see a seat consistently, on every test, perform really well, while another seat performs middling-to-poorly, I have to factor that into my decision making.
 

Maedze

New member
I just sorted the spreadsheet by age and HE numbers. Many of the seats have better HE scores with a seatbelt only (no tether) than some others (namely Britax) with a seatbelt and top tether.

Why is it always recommended to use a top tether across the board?
It doesn't matter if a seat performs better with lap belt only than another seat does with belt and top tether. The original seat will still perform better than that with the top tether in place. You can't compare apples to oranges, only apples to apples. Always use a top tether!
 

bobandjess99

Senior Community Member
I just sorted the spreadsheet by age and HE numbers. Many of the seats have better HE scores with a seatbelt only (no tether) than some others (namely Britax) with a seatbelt and top tether.

Why is it always recommended to use a top tether across the board?

).
I'm not certain exactly what you are saying? Are you saying that you have noted instances where a seat performs better without its top tether than with it top tether? A sin, the exact same seat? I find that hard to believe. Can you please give a concrete example of this?
One thing you have to do is make sure you are comparing not only the same seat, but also the same size dummy. You can not compare different size dummies head excursion with versus without top tether, it needs to be the same size dummy for accurate results. Of course we would expect a bigger dmmy to have more head excursion, so for example, if you have a top tethered 6 year old, and an untetherd 3 year old, the top tethered 6 year old might have more head excursion..that's just because it's a bigger, heavier dummy. Might that explain some of what you are seeing in the HE numbers?
 

crunchierthanthou

New member
I'm not certain exactly what you are saying? Are you saying that you have noted instances where a seat performs better without its top tether than with it top tether? A sin, the exact same seat? I find that hard to believe. Can you please give a concrete example of this?
One thing you have to do is make sure you are comparing not only the same seat, but also the same size dummy. You can not compare different size dummies head excursion with versus without top tether, it needs to be the same size dummy for accurate results. Of course we would expect a bigger dmmy to have more head excursion, so for example, if you have a top tethered 6 year old, and an untetherd 3 year old, the top tethered 6 year old might have more head excursion..that's just because it's a bigger, heavier dummy. Might that explain some of what you are seeing in the HE numbers?
seat|dummy size|ff|upright|tether use|HE

Evenflo Company Tribute 37812688L1 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) N 673
Evenflo Company Tribute 37812688L1 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) Y 635
Evenflo Company Tribute 37812688L1 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) N 579

so once it did better untethered and once it did worse. :confused:

here's another-

Graco Children's Products Toddler SafeSeat 8B01NTA2 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) N 643
Graco Children's Products Toddler SafeSeat 8B01NTA2 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) Y 681
Graco Children's Products Toddler SafeSeat 8B01NTA2 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) Y 505
Graco Children's Products Toddler SafeSeat 8B01NTA2 3 Yr. Old (FF)(U) N 551

maybe I need to retract my earlier statement about always use a tether. :rolleyes:
 

jujumum

New member
It doesn't matter if a seat performs better with lap belt only than another seat does with belt and top tether. The original seat will still perform better than that with the top tether in place. You can't compare apples to oranges, only apples to apples. Always use a top tether!
My dd wants to be in the 3rd row which has no top tether (none of the seats have lower anchors). She currently is ff in a BV in the 2nd row with top tether, but we also have a GN (with both lower anchors & top tethers in dh's van).

According to the table (for 3yo ff upright):

BV with top tether: 665 HIC, 673 HE
GN w/o top tether: 453 HIC, 620 HE

So, why is the BV better in my van for my dd than the GN?
 

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Threads
219,417
Messages
2,201,332
Members
13,375
Latest member
kerryn1979

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Maxi Cosi is a proud sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2020 Carseat Media LLC

Top