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The NHTSA has announced that it will begin using a new ratings system for child seats that communicates to parents how easy they are to use. (All NHTSA-rated child seats are considered safe.) The four ease-of-use criteria that will be considered are:
  • Vehicle installation features
  • Securing the child
  • Evaluation of seat instructions
  • Evaluation of seat labels
Ratings of one to five stars will be given, kind of like the organization's vehicle crash tests, with the hope that it's easier for parents to choose the best possible seat.

It's good to see that ease of use will be rated, because the simpler it is to transfer a seat from car to car, the more likely a parent is to do so. After all, if a seat is a "pain to install," as IIHS president Adrian Lund bluntly puts it, a parent might be less likely to bother moving it. Of course, your child's safety should trump all other factors, regardless of how annoying it might be to move his or her car seat. Better to swear under your breath during the install than to regret not having done it later. These new ratings sound like a good, common-sense move.

[Source: AP, NHTSA]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I would like to add criteria: "carseat matches the interior trim"

      When will Graco learn?
      • 7 Years Ago
      kid looks pretty scared to go for a ride in that S5..
      • 7 Years Ago
      I understand a few states are tinkering with the idea of raising the minimum age and weight of child seat occupants, that is to say, keeping them in one longer. So exactly how did the lobbyists for the car seat manufactures convince state legislative types that this was a 'safety' issue and not a $$ issue.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They probably know, but don't care.

      Cesare - I am not ruling out the possibility that the car-seat manufacturers are behind the more ridiculous car-seat laws - in fact, they are probably loving life right now. Don't forget the Safety-Nazis, the nanny-state busybodies, and the "child-advocacy" nutjobs who have squawked and squalled until the know-nothing criminals in the various legislatures inflict these laws on us "for the children."

      In case you're wondering, I just finished (just a few minutes ago, really), installing ANOTHER of the latest nightmare from Evenflo for the 18 month-old, because the 'gubmint' says I can't take the older kid out of her seat until she is 5. At least they are throwing us a bone by warning us about which ones are hard to install, and which are really hard to install, and which are are REALLY REALLY hard to install.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a good thing. One more category I'd add is how a convertible seat fits rear-facing in a compact car. Most will only fit in the middle of the rear seat.

      I'll tell you this: the next damned seat I buy will not be less than the full five stars! ;)
      • 7 Years Ago
      lmao, best S5 pic ever.