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There is something particularly disturbing about an expensive, heavily marketed infant safety device which fails in its sole mission to protect an infant in the event of a crash.

9 of 12 infant car seats fail group’s tests

Nine out of 12 infant car seats, all designed to meet a federal standard for protecting the smallest passengers in autos, vans and SUVs, “failed disastrously” when subjected to the higher-speed front- and side-impact crash tests used to rate vehicles’ crashworthiness, Consumer Reports said yesterday.

The car seats “twisted violently or flew off their bases,” the magazine said. In one case, a test dummy was hurled 30 feet across a lab in a test on an unenclosed sled, designed to simulate a crash in a Ford Explorer SUV.

The test results prompted the magazine’s parent organization, Consumers Union, to call for a more stringent safety standard for the rear-facing infant seats.

Don Mays, senior director for product safety and consumer science at Consumers Union, said the different standards for cars and infant seats meant that safety-conscious parents could walk away from a crash that kills or injures their child.

Only two of the 12 seats performed well on all of Consumer Reports’ tests: the Graco SnugRide With EPS, made by Exton-based Graco Children’s Products Inc., and the Baby Trend Flex-Loc. One seat, the Chicco KeyFit, was judged fair.

A second Graco product, the more-expensive Graco Safe Seat, was one of three seats that failed both of the more-stringent tests conducted by Consumer Reports. Details of the tests will appear in the magazine’s February issue and are available for free on its Web site,

The full report on the testing of the infant car seats is available at Consumer Reports.

As a grandparent who has faithfully strapped my two grandson’s snugly into their car seats before taking on the Florida traffic (even the Clearwater traffic) I feel defrauded. Admittedly, I didn’t read the fine print on the seats. Maybe it says something like, This device not intended for real world collisions.

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