Misunderstanding caused Consumer Reports child seat snafu

The independant review set up to study what went wrong in a controversial Consumer Reports test that found 10 out of 12 rear-facing child safety seats to be unsafe has concluded that a misunderstanding between the magazine and the lab caused the error.

The misunderstanding apparently revolves around how fast the crash was supposed to be versus how fast struck car would move after the impact. Since an impacted car moves at half the speed of the object it was struck by, the independant lab misunderstood its instructions by performing crash tests in which the struck vehicle was set to move at 38 mph by an object going twice that speed. Obviously, the instructions for the test meant for the crash to be conducted at 38 mph, a much more reasonable speed, resulting in the struck vehicle moving at 19 mph.

In order to avoid such misunderstandings in the future, president of CR's parent company Consumers Union, Jim Guest, will sign off on "any report that calls a product Not Acceptable or raises questions about an entire group of products." In addition, the independant review suggested that CR be more open when it devises new tests and consult outside experts.

As for the car seats that were wrongly judged to be unsafe, CR plans to retest them again, though this time with a frontal crash test. A new side-impact test is still being developed according to the report by the Detroit Free Press.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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