WFLA in Tampa recently visited the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center in Connecticut. That’s where the experts test vehicles, tires and a lot more to determine which cars rate the highest each year.
They also test child car seats to determine which ones are best to carry the most precious cargo.
“We test between 30 to 50 new child seat models each year,” Director of Operations Jennifer Stockburger said.
Consumer Reports test experts work diligently to determine which seats are best for certain vehicles and situations. Testers even go above and beyond what federal regulations require, which means they are the only testing company to do that with child safety seats.
“What we’re looking for is the child seat that is easy to install in a variety of vehicles, which is why we do it in about five different vehicles that represent different types and different challenges,” said Stockburger.
Because car seat installation is so important, Consumer Reports actually weighs that part of the test a little more in their scoring system.
Now, many newer vehicles have latches in the seats that the car safety seats can lock into. That helps the seat to perform well in the crash tests.
The crash test is conducted outside of the Consumer Reports test center, and unlike other crash tests, Consumer Reports uses what they call a crash pulse that transports more energy to the child-dummy in the seat. Their crash tests are also run at 35 mph whereas the federal regulations tests are run at 30 mph. And Consumer Reports sees the difference.
“We see that something breaks, structural issues, a harness breaks, a top tether breaks, so if we see results like that we go first to the manufacturer,” Stockburger said.
Consumer Reports highest rated infant seat is the Chicco Keyfit. For a full list of infant car seats click here.