The latest crash tests conducted by Consumer Reports have yielded disturbing results. More than half of the infant seats posed a serious head injury risk when the dummy’s head hit the back of the front seat. According to an MSN.com report, the crash tests were done with 22-pound dummies that represented a 1-year-old child.
But the tests also showed that convertible seats did a much better job of protecting the test dummies from head injuries. So, Consumer Reports is recommending switching children to a convertible seat much earlier. These findings come at the heels of another recent car seat change to improve safety.
Starting in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that all children are kept rear facing until they are at least 2 years old with older children kept in booster seats until they meet height requirements up to the age of 12.
Getting Information Out to Parents
We see and hear about studies involving child safety seats often. However, when it comes to getting the information out to new parents, that remains a challenge. Many parents are not even aware car seat regulations in the past five years.
Also, car seats come in all shapes and sizes and very often, are installed incorrectly. Recent studies show that up to 75 percent of car seats may be used incorrectly. For many families these new Consumer Reports recommendations are sure to be a game changer.
The new recommendations focus on height. But most parents tend to focus on weight. Height is what really matters because a baby’s head can hit the seat in the crash.
Consumer Reports now suggests making the switch to a convertible car seat earlier since parents will need one anyway to keep a child rear facing until age 2. However, experts say it’s not a good idea to get a convertible seat at birth because these seats don’t provide proper support for a newborn.
So, be sure to do your homework before you buy a seat.
Child Safety Seat Tips
- Always use a child safety seat.
- Make sure the car seat is installed correctly before you hit the road.
- Learn how to install your car seat. Organizations such as Safe Kids host car seat inspections across the country where certified technicians teach parents to install a child safety seat properly.
- Buy a used car seat only if you know its full crash history. Once a car seat has been in a crash, expired or broken, it must be replaced.
- Be a good role model and buckle up for every ride.
If your child has been injured as the result of a defective child safety seat, contact an experienced product defect lawyer who can provide you with more information about pursuing your legal rights.