A Safety Seat Report Card

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Are your precious children, really safe in their car seats? Are all companies equal, when it comes to safety reports, administered by consumer reporting agencies? The answer to this question is a frightening no, and a resigned yes, in regards to the better brands.

Despite decreases in motor vehicle deaths among other age groups, NHTSA [National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] estimates that between 1982 and 1998, there was a 23% increase in motor vehicle deaths among 5- to 9-year-olds. The occupant fatality rate per 100,000 population for children between the ages of 0 to 4 has decreased significantly over the past couple decades, from 4.68 in 1977 to 2.84 in 2000. The fatality rate for children between the ages of 5 and 9 has stayed roughly the same in the past 25 years, and in 2000 was actually higher than it was in 1982. -The Prevention Institute.

Between the years of August 2002 and July 2004, Britax recalled 355,156 seats, covering different models such as: marathon E9L06, Wizard E9l07, Husky E9l30, and Snug seat traveler plus, all manufactured and sold during the dates above. The recall was due to an adjustment assembly on the straps that holds the child in. If an accident occured, the child would then be allowed to move too far forward, significantly increasing the risk of a head injury.

In early 1999, there was a recall of 9,922 model #161 safety seats. And in March to July 2001, 4,959 safety seats were recalled, in both of these cases, the company simply said: Seats might not provide adequate protection in a crash. Thats reassuring for a company who is in existence to protect your children, and furthermore fall on the more expensive end of cost! Their grade is a D. Their only salvation from an F is their apparently prompt response to knowledge of faulty hardware on their products.

Evenflo has a large list of recalls as well, many having to do with their safety seats. But their recalls branch into other child care devices, like child carriers and such. They had 70 results on consumerreports.org, whereas Britax only had 32, mostly child safety seat related. And for Evenflo, of the 70 results, 34 were child safety seat related.

Here is a highlight of what consumerreports.org says about one Evenflo model: The Evenflo Port About 5 infant seat flew off its base at a crash speed just above the federal standard, a margin of safety that is too small, in our judgment. We have rated it poor for crash protection.

There is a wealth of information out there on evaluations performed on car seats, and lots of information on recalls. Of the several companies that had recalls, these two seemed to have the most, and though Britax did have recommendations for producing a safe car seat, I still say you should be careful of which brand and model you buy. Definitely do your research.

If you believe you have a seat that is recalled, you may call the manufacturer directly or visit their respective website. If you have been in an accident, and your child was injured, you may not understand all the factors that caused their injuries. It could have been the result of a defective car seat. It is advised that you seek legal (and medical) assistance as soon as possible from a qualified attorney.

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