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Child Safety Seats Highly Effective in Real World Crashes Says ACTS: Consumer Reports Conclusions Not Based on Real World Experience

WASHINGTON--The Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) reminds all parents and caregivers to properly secure young children in age and size-appropriate child safety seats whenever they are in a motor vehicle despite media reports that many rear-facing infant seats did not perform well in Consumer Reports tests.

The Federal Governments research shows that infant seats are highly effective, reducing fatal injuries to infants by 71 percent in passenger cars and by 59 percent in pickup trucks, minivans and SUVs, said ACTS president Phil Haseltine. While product testing is important, the ultimate test of a safety device is how it performs in a real-world crash. Consumer Reports has apparently not shared details of its test procedures with manufacturers or other researchers.

Safety belts and LATCH system connectors are both effective methods of installing child safety seats in vehicles. Both the child safety seat instructions and the vehicle owners manual should be carefully followed to ensure a secure installation. LATCH attachments are not available in all seating positions and using safety belts to install the child restraint may result in a tighter installation, depending on the specific child safety seat and vehicle seat in which it is being installed. Parents should try installing a child safety seat in their vehicle before buying it to ensure a proper fit.

While LATCH attachments are still relatively new to the marketplace, I am not aware of any scientific data identifying problems with LATCH attachments in crashes, Haseltine added. In fact, anecdotal reports suggest that LATCH is performing well in real world crashes. (LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children)

ACTS is a nonprofit organization funded by motor vehicle manufacturers that educates the public and policymakers about traffic safety issues, particularly those associated with occupant restraint systems and other vehicle safety technologies. ACTS has long been involved in child passenger safety issues. In 1995, Mr. Haseltine served as moderator of the Blue Ribbon Panel on Child Restraints and Vehicle Compatibility. The panels recommendations resulted in the development and adoption of the LATCH system. Subsequently, ACTS has led numerous panels and symposia addressing booster seat use and safety belt use by older children and teens.