A Dollop of Sour Cream

I'm not much into spicy food. I have recently discovered that if a meal is just a tad too spicy for me, I can put sour cream on top and make it not just palatable, but wonderful. This blog is devoted to doing the same for life.

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1.18.2007

No need to worry about your infant car seat

When Consumer Reports came out with the news that most of the infant car seats on the market could not stand a side impact of 38 mph without failing catastrophically, it made big news. Only 2 seats were recommended, and within a week, they were very hard to find in stock anywhere. People were throwing away their existing seats and replacing it with one of the recommended seats. People who had showers coming up were coming on to the boards asking "What do I register for? By the time my shower gets here neither of those seats will be available anywhere, but I don't want my child to be in danger."

However, even at the beginning, some people cried foul on the report. They noted that one of the seats that failed had been a CR winner in 2005, and no significant change in design had happened in between. The results they were getting were not born out, either, by fatalities kept track of in national records of car seat failures during accidents on the road -- you'd think if the 8mph difference made such a huge difference that it would be born out in the actual accident specifics, but it wasn't. The article mentions using a 30 pound dummy, but evidently dummies come in standard sizes and that is not one of them.

Then there was the problem that Consumer Reports does not publish their test data or methodology to give anyone else the chance to repeat their testing and see if they get the same results.

One lady even put up an entire webpage about it!

The final straw in the house was when the NHTSA (Natonal Highway Traffic Safety Administration) tried to repeat the tests and couldn't get the seats to fail! Consumer Reports withdraws negative report on infant seats

What I want to know is: Was Consumer Reports negligent in going to press with this? where I work, our engineers have to be sure they do due diligence in their work. Did Consumer Reports do everything reasonable before printing their results to make sure that they had good information? That the test was not flawed? Because if individuals (lots of them) could pick so many holes in their tests so easily it seems like the magazine itself should have. At the very least, could they have picked up the phone and found out how these car seats behaved in actual accidents? How about talking to the manufacturers and telling them the results and seeing if they had any explanation? They may have found the error (that they were testing some of the car seats at the equivalent of 70 mph...) before they went to print and panicked so many people.

and there are STILL people saying that, even with the retraction, "just to be safe" they don't want any of the non-recommended child seats. So real harm has been done to these companies' reputatons.

1 Comments:

Blogger featherbee said...

I heard about the reports, and was keeping it in the back of my mind for later! That's interesting that they withdrew them. Thanks for pointing it out!

8:45 AM  

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