infant seat not as safe as convertible?

Kobain's Mommy

New member
I've been in an accident with an 18 month old in a bucket seat. She was in a SR35 Classic. She never flinched and only time she cried was when the guy who rear eneded us pounded on her window after the accident freaking out. She had about 1/2" to 1" before she had outgrown it height wise from the shell. Was still within the actual height limit of the seat, and I don't remember her weight then, but she's 4 years old now and just hit 38lbs.
 

jjordan

Moderator
I've been in an accident with an 18 month old in a bucket seat. She was in a SR35 Classic. She never flinched and only time she cried was when the guy who rear eneded us pounded on her window after the accident freaking out. She had about 1/2" to 1" before she had outgrown it height wise from the shell. Was still within the actual height limit of the seat, and I don't remember her weight then, but she's 4 years old now and just hit 38lbs.
That's a happy anecdote, but in the case of being rear-ended, there is not going to be nearly the same sort of forward force on the child seat, which is what would generally cause a child to ramp up and potentially contact the front seat.
 

Ninetales

New member
So, is there a consensus here then that infant seats are not safe? I'm used to Consumer Reports being given no weight around here, and I'm confused.

People keep posting this link on my FB and want my opinion but I don't know how to respond.
 

joolsplus3

Admin - CPS Technician
No, they are still safe, but click the link she posted, they definitely stress that you should move to a convertible seat sooner rather than later, don't push the height limits, particularly with the ramping issue CR found... the 29" dummy ramped out of over half the seats. They didn't say which seats, unfortunately, but I guess I'd still be stressing to really keep an eye on how close the head is to the top of the seat, definitely don't push past the height limit or the 1" limit.
 

katymyers

New member
I'm really wanting an explanation as to why this isn't an issue in a convertible seat with a child at the upper part of the height limit for that seat. Did CR test any seats rear facing with a child near the height limit like that?


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meljc

New member
I'm really wanting an explanation as to why this isn't an issue in a convertible seat with a child at the upper part of the height limit for that seat. Did CR test any seats rear facing with a child near the height limit like that?
I would assume it isn't as big an issue in the real world because a child who is tall enough to be near the height limit would generally be more upright.

They also don't necessarily have dummies representing every single age. I think (though not a CPST, so don't quote me) that RF seats are usually tested with a 1yo and a 3yo, then the 6yo is tested FF. Since so many seats out today have the height capacity for at least a 4yo (often older), the 3yo dummy would have more clearance above its head so you wouldn't necessarily see the issue.

An older child also has greater mass and should ramp up less.

Perhaps if you had a tall, lightweight child near the top of the RF limit and still super reclined you would see an issue. I just don't know how often that happens in the real world though. In an infant seat, nearly every child is in until very close to the shell height, lots of the babies are fairly light, and they're all installed at an angle such that they would ramp straight into the seat back/blocker plate.
 

jjordan

Moderator
I'm really wanting an explanation as to why this isn't an issue in a convertible seat with a child at the upper part of the height limit for that seat. Did CR test any seats rear facing with a child near the height limit like that?


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It might well be an issue, although as a PP mentioned the more upright angle to some convertibles for older kids might mitigate it. I wonder if they have those kinds of test on their list for future testing. Or perhaps they didn't perform those tests with older kids because they thought less-than-perfect results might encourage parents to turn children FF sooner. Although it would be interesting to have some data comparing RF older kids close to the height limits vs. FF at the same age.
 

Nedra

Car-Seat.org Ambassador
I wonder too if it has anything to do with the fact that an infant seat has a base that it connects to? Like, does that introduce more potential for forward movement -- not only would the belts holding the base stretch, but maybe the seat can move more due to the "wiggle" of the connection to the base? I don't know if that makes sense...

I would be curious about the results for a baseless install.

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lgenne

New member
Maybe also with the taller shells on convertibles, it's the shell that hits the plate, rather than the kid's head.
 

katymyers

New member
I think the biggest questions here are: is requiring only one inch of shell above a child's head in a rear facing car seat sufficient? Do we need other measures to prevent ramping up in rear facing seats? Is this an issue in convertibles or just infant seats? What are all the factors that affect this?

I do not believe we can make any conclusions about what these test results actually mean because we don't have enough information about these tests. I am highly skeptical about this coming from Consumer Reports but I would like to see someone delve into this more deeply. The federal test definitely needs to be upgraded, that much is obvious.


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meljc

New member
I think the biggest questions here are: is requiring only one inch of shell above a child's head in a rear facing car seat sufficient? Do we need other measures to prevent ramping up in rear facing seats? Is this an issue in convertibles or just infant seats? What are all the factors that affect this?
I think it depends on a lot of factors. The picture they showed is of a SnugRide 40 with the footrest extended so that the shell off the seat is right near the blocker. That's about as much space as you could ever expect an infant seat to take up! If you drive a big car and have a small infant seat (so that you have several inches of space between the top of the seat and the front seats) I wouldn't expect to see an issue with the 1" rule in the real world. Similarly logic would apply if the infant seat is in the middle position. But if you're driving a tiny car in which you can barely fit the shortest of infant seats, perhaps this is a warning to move up to a more upright convertible (RF) sooner rather than later.
 

katymyers

New member
This article I found a year ago when looking at convertibles shows some of the ramping/rotation problems, especially of infant seats, and has some real life examples.



http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv23/Session 18 Written.pdf

That was quite good, thank you. So basically I think we truly have enough evidence to say that some kind of device needs to be added to rear facing car seats to manage ramping/rotation. I wish there had been more convertibles shown in that because that still doesn't answer my questions about them having the same problem as infant seat. At this point I'm really going to have to say I don't see how they couldn't have the same issue.


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meljc

New member
That was quite good, thank you. So basically I think we truly have enough evidence to say that some kind of device needs to be added to rear facing car seats to manage ramping/rotation. I wish there had been more convertibles shown in that because that still doesn't answer my questions about them having the same problem as infant seat. At this point I'm really going to have to say I don't see how they couldn't have the same issue.
If the convertible is installed at a more upright angle and there's some room between the seat and the seat back, it really shouldn't be an issue.

Something like a RF Radian without the angle adjuster and bracing against the seat back being ridden in by a 4yo could be problematic.
 

katymyers

New member
If the convertible is installed at a more upright angle and there's some room between the seat and the seat back, it really shouldn't be an issue.



Something like a RF Radian without the angle adjuster and bracing against the seat back being ridden in by a 4yo could be problematic.

What about convertibles that don't allow very upright installs? And not all vehicles are big enough for a good amount of room between the car seat and front vehicle seats. I'm not worried about say, my Boulevard G3 that my two year old is riding in that's in the center middle row and tethered. I am thinking back to my boys riding in their Graco MyRides (that had only one acceptable recline level that was the same for infants and up) with 1.5 inch of shell in the third row of my short wheel base Pontiac Montana.


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Hazelandlucy

New member
That was quite good, thank you. So basically I think we truly have enough evidence to say that some kind of device needs to be added to rear facing car seats to manage ramping/rotation. I wish there had been more convertibles shown in that because that still doesn't answer my questions about them having the same problem as infant seat. At this point I'm really going to have to say I don't see how they couldn't have the same issue.


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A load leg! http://www.nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv23/Session 18 Written.pdf

Although I guess convertibles didn't have many problems in the Consumer Reports test, it was more the infant seats. But I still think a great idea to help with crash energy! The seats I see in the UK have been side impact government tested, have rigid latch for RF, and load legs with rebound bars. Why can't we have that out here?!
 

katymyers

New member
A load leg! http://www.nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/esv/esv23/Session 18 Written.pdf

Although I guess convertibles didn't have many problems in the Consumer Reports test, it was more the infant seats. But I still think a great idea to help with crash energy! The seats I see in the UK have been side impact government tested, have rigid latch for RF, and load legs with rebound bars. Why can't we have that out here?!

I'm still not convinced that the reason CR didn't have the same issues with convertibles wasn't because they weren't tested with dummies near the seated height limits of the convertible seat. Yes, I think load legs or something similar would be nice to have on North American seats. Our test bench needs to be updated.


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featherhead

New member
What about convertibles that don't allow very upright installs? And not all vehicles are big enough for a good amount of room between the car seat and front vehicle seats. I'm not worried about say, my Boulevard G3 that my two year old is riding in that's in the center middle row and tethered. I am thinking back to my boys riding in their Graco MyRides (that had only one acceptable recline level that was the same for infants and up) with 1.5 inch of shell in the third row of my short wheel base Pontiac Montana.


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Are you thinking of a different seat? The MyRide has always had a ball level with a range.
 

katymyers

New member
Are you thinking of a different seat? The MyRide has always had a ball level with a range.

Mine had the ball level, there was I guess a 'range' but it was very limited and made little to no difference in the recline of the seat, maybe a few degrees at the most.


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