Car seats are one of the most important safety devices parents use to protect their children. While the can get covered in crumbs, throw up, and a number of other various substances that we try to ignore, car seats are more than just a way to keep your child strapped in — they can save your child’s life in case of an accident. With so many brands and styles of car seats, it’s hard to know what car seat to buy, and it’s a major part of car safety, so how does a team like Consumer Reports decide how to rate them to give you the most informed information?
A new type of crash testing
Installing a car seat can be a total pain, but chances are you’ve spent hours researching car seat brands and types to make sure you get the one you feel is the safest option within your budget. The team at Consumer Reports set out to design a crash test that is the first of it’s kind. The test is specifically designed to test how car seats react in different crash scenarios, which is significantly less costly than full car crash tests, especially for million-dollar vehicles.
The set up for the crash test is designed to be as realistic as possible, using actual car bench seats to strap the child’s car seat in, and another piece designed to respond like the back of a front seat. Testing how car seats react at 35mph can help us to understand how well a car seat will do its job of protecting your child in case of an accident.
The car seat is half of the battle
According to Consumer Reports, having the right car seat is only half of the battle, and there are other factors that can affect your child’s safety. For one, ensure the vehicle you are driving is rated well for impact, which luckily you can do right on the Consumer Reports website. Another is to make sure you have serviced any applicable recalls that could affect the safety of your passengers, including your child.
Your car is only one half of the equation here, because using a car seat properly is just as important as buying the right car seat. Making sure the seat is installed correctly will help ensure that the car seat will function properly and stay in place in case of an accident. The next step is to ensure your child is strapped in properly, with the restraining belts placed in the properly locations on their should, chest, and across their body.
Deciding on the right safety equipment for your child can require extensive research, especially if you are working on a budget. Regardless of price, Consumer Reports has tested dozens of car seat brands to give you all of the information you need to make a very important, informed decision.