Crash Tests Reveal Car Seat Problems

03.03.09 Federal results were never made public, report says


An investigation into recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration car safety testing reports has called into question the rigor of standards for infant car seats, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Federal researchers found that 31 of the 66 infant car seats tested flew off their bases or exceeded injury limits in a series of frontal crashes performed to determine safety ratings on 2008 model year vehicles. According to the Tribune report, the results were not made public and not shared with some car seat manufacturers.

The Tribune article also reveals the crash results show that two of the most expensive car seats tested had poor results, and that some small cars protected car seats better than larger ones.

In response to the newspaper's investigation, new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that he has ordered a "complete top to bottom review of child safety seat regulations" and has directed staff to make the crash-test results "more available" to consumers.

Head to the Tribune's database to check on the test results for car seats. The newspaper's website also has video of certain car seats in the recent test crashes. See for yourself how some of them fared.

Remember, car seats are essential if you're having a baby. The hospital won't let you go home without putting your new baby in a car seat. Buying a car seat is easy, but installing one can be a challenge. Check out our tips on how to do it correctly. Also, some our expert tips on which seat to choose and when.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.