Posts Tagged ‘ Consumer Reports ’

Infant Car Seat Safety: How Does Yours Rank?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Consumer Reports has published new ratings of 34 child safety seats after conducting frontal-impact crash tests using a new testing procedure. The testing system, which took more than two years to develop, is designed to evaluate the level of crash protection provided by infant car seats.

With the new testing, only 13 of the 34 seats received the top ranking of Best. Of those, the five best car seats, according to the report, were the Chicco KeyFit and KeyFit 30, the Combi Shuttle, the Cybex Aton 2, the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air, and the Uppa Baby Mesa.

Of the remaining models, 16 car seats received the ranking of Better, and 5 seats were ranked Basic, which is the lowest ranking. Basic ratings were given to seats that detached from their bases on impact or whose bases split, or seats that had higher injury measures than the rest of the seats.

All of the car seats meet the federal standard for safety, and owners of Basic car seats should not assume they are unsafe, Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports’ auto test center, said to The New York Times.

The car seats that received the Basic ranking, according to the New York Times, were the Evenflo Embrace 35, the Snugli Infant Car Seat, the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat G2, and the Maxi-Cosi Prezi.

Under the new testing system, Consumer Reports raised the speed of the impact test from 30 to 35 mph and created a more realistic vehicle environment for the tests. They also had certified child safety passenger technicians evaluate the ease of use of each car seat based on 13 different criteria ranging from how heavy the seat is to the rear-facing-installation features.

More from Consumer Reports:

Consumer Reports continues its efforts to improve the marketplace and has developed a new test protocol for crash-testing child seats. As part of a rigorous, two and a half year process to develop the new test, we extensively studied published research on pediatric biomechanics and child-injury patterns in vehicle crashes. We also analyzed crash-test videos and data from crashes conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada, and where appropriate, we conferred with other child passenger safety and automotive safety experts. We also reviewed our protocol with Dr. Priya Prasad, an outside consultant who is a respected expert in vehicle safety and injury biomechanics, with 40 years of experience.

Our latest infant seat ratings are based on tests conducted according to our new crash protocol at a contracted outside lab. We also performed in-house testing of both ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle assessments on each seat. We combined the results of those three tests to determine the overall rating for each car seat, giving more weight to the combined scores of the ease-of-use and fit-to-vehicle testing than to the crash performance testing because optimal crash protection cannot be expected without proper use and secure installation.

Pregnant? Be sure to add a car seat to your baby registry checklist or browse infant car seats.

How To Install A Car Seat
How To Install A Car Seat
How To Install A Car Seat

Image via Shutterstock

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Study: Arsenic Found in Apple, Grape Juices

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

A new study of apple and grape juices by Consumer Reports has found high levels of arsenic in some brands, The Today Show reported yesterday.  The new findings follow a widely-discussed and controversial study released in September by Dr. Mehmet Oz, in which he accused apple juice makers of allowing higher levels of arsenic than are allowed by federal regulators.

Ten percent of the 88 juice samples tested by Consumer Reports were found to have detectable arsenic at levels higher than the 10 parts per billion (ppb) allowed by the Food & Drug Administration.  Welch’s Pourable Concentrate 100% Apple Juice had the lowest arsenic level (1.1-4.3 total arsenic ppb), and America’s Choice Apple, Tropicana 100% Apple, and Red Jacket Orchards 100% Apple also had low levels.

The new study continues a debate over whether there is a difference in health risk between organic and inorganic arsenic compounds.  Dr. Oz’s study had reported “total arsenic” counts, rather than distinguishing between the two types of compounds, as the FDA does.  Inorganic arsenic is known to raise the risk that a person will develop cancer or other chronic health problems.  But Consumer Reports says that there are questions about the safety or organic compounds as well, writing, “Use of organic arsenic in agricultural products has caused concern. For instance, the EPA in 2006 took steps to stop the use of herbicides containing organic arsenic because of their potential to turn into inorganic arsenic in the soil and contaminate drinking water.”

The FDA responded to the article with a statement saying the agency was considering changing or tightening its standard for allowable arsenic in juices:

“We welcome the research that Consumer Reports has undertaken and look forward to reviewing the data that formed the basis for their story and their recommendations,” the agency noted. “We continue to find the vast majority of apple juice tested to contain low levels of arsenic, including the most recent samples from China. For this reason, FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice consumed in this country. By the same token, a small percentage of samples contain elevated levels of arsenic. In response, FDA has expanded our surveillance activities and is collecting additional data”

Nutritionists urge parents to limit the amount of juice their children consume, not only because of contamination concerns, but because of the high calories contained in the drinks.  Parents should offer their children water or milk to drink, and whole fruits as snacks.

Image:  Apples and apple juice, via Shutterstock

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