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Response to Consumer Reports Testing of Infant Car Seats

Parents of children currently utilizing car seats received a jolt this last week when Consumer Report released a study that raised questions about car seat safety. MeritCare has a received a lot of calls from concerned parents since the study was released.

Updated January 18, 2007
Last week MeritCare communicated the safety of infant car seats in response to an article that was published in the Feb. issue of Consumer Reports. This article caused a great concern both locally and nationally. Today, Consumer Reports announced that they are withdrawing their report pending further testing. A new report will be published with the necessary revisions as soon as the new tests are complete. More information about car seat safety is available below.


Click Here for a copy of the news release from Consumer Reports.

Safe Kids Fargo Moorhead and MeritCare Children's has created the following fact sheet to answer questions and guide people through the complicated issue.

  • Today's car seats are safe and effective if used correctly. Every car seat on the market in the United States has passed the same rigorous crash tests required by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

  • If you're following manufacturer's instructions, you're giving your baby the safest ride possible with current technology. Make sure your infant car seat is less than six years old, has never been in a crash, is reclining at about a 45-degree angle in the car, is secured tightly in the back seat and the harness straps are adjusted correctly for your baby.

  • Any car seat made after 2002 can be installed either with safety belts or the LATCH system in a vehicle made in 2002 or later. Use safety belts or LATCH for an infant, whichever you prefer, but not both. If you're worried about the performance of LATCH, use the safety belt.

  • Safe Kids Fargo Moorhead wants to see the technology continue to improve, but we don't want parents to lose confidence in their car seats today — the best protection available. Federal standards do not call for side-impact crash tests at this time. The International Standards Organization is drafting global standards that will include side-impact tests; meanwhile, the highest standard in the world is a side-impact crash test at 19 mph that is mandatory in Australia. Consumer Report tested car seats at twice that speed.

  • Read the car seat instructions and follow them carefully. Even if you don't usually read the instructions for other products, read your car seat owner's manual cover to cover. Also read the section of your vehicle owner's manual that deals with occupant protection.

Learn more about car seat safety and Safe Kids.