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Popular Booster Seat Models Fail Consumer Reports Tests


As a parent, your child’s safety is of the utmost importance. Before placing your child in a car, you likely did considerable research to find a booster car seat that was safe.

Unfortunately for some parents, Consumer Reports recently conducted tests and found that four of the most popular booster seat models raised significant safety concerns.

The Consumer Reports Car Seat Tests

Consumer Reports set its own standards for child car-seat testing protocols in 2014. The company sought to mimic realistic crash conditions, allowing them to determine which car seats provided safety protections that went beyond basic levels. Consumer Reports testing standards are more rigorous than federal standards, as all child restraints must pass national testing before manufacturers can sell them in the United States.

When developing the tests, Consumer Reports said they focused on child-injury patterns from vehicle crashes, as well as pediatric biomechanics. The company also said that they gathered crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada. Before the company put the testing protocol into effect, it was reviewed by Dr. Priya Prasad, who is widely considered an expert in the biomechanics of crash injuries.

These tests focused on booster seats, which help growing children transition from rear-facing car seats to not having to use a car seat at all. When a child is too tall or bulky to fit in a rear-facing seat, parents should begin using a booster seat. Initially, parents will want to secure their child into position using the included five-point harness. Once the child outgrows this, parents can secure their child in the booster seat using the car’s standard seat belt.

2018 Car Seats That Fail To Provide Extraordinary Protection

During 2018 testing, Consumer Reports that four popular booster seat models failed to provide exceptional levels of protection. Although these booster seats may have passed federal regulations, additional testing by Consumer Reports found that children would not receive more than the bare minimum of security. Consumer Reports tests assign one of three grades to a booster seat:

• Basic
• Better
• Best

The four models that failed the Consumer Reports tests received the “Basic” rating in the “Crash Protection” category. Those four models were:

Harmony Defender 360
Cosco Finale 2-in-1
Britax Frontier ClickTight
Britax Pioneer

What Did The Tests Indicate?

Consumer Reports noted that all four seats received a “Basic” rating because of the load-bearing components located in the rear of the chair. These components broke when passengers – or dummies, in this case – weighed close to the seat’s harness system limit.

Company employee Jennifer Stockburger explained, “When the structure surrounding either the harness or top tether breaks, it can compromise the seats’ ability to protect the child in a subsequent crash event. It may also allow the child to move further forward, which means they can contact portions of the vehicle interior. If the harness disengages completely, the seat is no longer restraining the child.

What To Do If You Own One Of These Booster Seats

If you own one of the four booster seats and are alarmed by this report, there may not be a need to panic.

First and foremost, Consumer Reports has said that there not been any reported injuries that can be attributed to the structural weaknesses revealed during testing.

This means that hundreds of thousands of parents have used the booster seats on the road without issue.

In fact, Consumer Reports has advised parents not to stop using the booster seat unless they can replace it immediately.

It’s better that parents use one of the four booster seats that received a “Basic” rating than not to use one at all. Additionally, if the child using the seat weighs less than 40 pounds, then parents should be able to keep using the seat. If the child weighs more than 40 pounds and fits safely in the vehicle seat belt, the seats are safe to use in booster mode.

The only scenario that Consumer Reports recommends replacing the booster seat is the child is too small to fit in the seat belts correctly, even though they weigh more than 40 pounds. In these scenarios, parents will want to consider using a harnessed car seat that is forward-facing.

Consumer Reports recommends one of the following models as a replacement:

Chicco NextFit
Graco Milestone
Graco 4Ever

Was Your Child Injured In An Automobile Accident?

If your child was recently injured in an auto accident, be sure to contact your local attorneys at Justice Pays. We have years of experience fighting for Florida accident victims and can help you receive the monetary compensation that you deserve. Be sure to contact us today to obtain a free case review.

Attorney David Goldman has a strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and those with the means should do what they can to bring justice in all areas of our society. That belief has led him to help Florida's injured from being taken advantage of by corporations and insurance companies. Since 1989 David Goldman has been fighting for the rights of Floridians both as an attorney and by personally supporting our community.

Popular Booster Seat Models Fail Consumer Reports Tests

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