13 Infant Car Seats Earn Best Rating in Consumer Reports Crash Tests

OrbitBabyG2

Of 34 infant safety seats crash-tested by an independent lab hired by Consumer Reports, only 13 of those rear-facing car seats earned the highest score of best. Sixteen infant seats earned the midlevel better rating and five received the lowest rating of basic. The infant seats tested had a fixed base and a removable baby carrier.

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While some parents may believe that paying extra for an expensive car seat will keep their child safer in a crash, Consumer Reports' crash-test results show that added cost doesn't equal increased safety. The infant seats tested range from $55 to $440. The $55 seat — the Evenflo Discovery 5 — earned the better rating, but the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat G2 (photo above), which rings up at $440, received the basic score.

The Orbit Baby infant seat wasn't alone in its ranking. Four other car seats earned the basic score:

  • Evenflo Embrace 35 (Select)
  • Graco SnugRide (Classic Connect)
  • Maxi-Cosi Prezi
  • Snugli Infant Car Seat

Both the Evenflo and Snugli car seats detached from their bases in the crash tests, The New York Times reported. The Graco SnugRide Classic Connect experiences cracking in its base, and the Orbit Baby and Maxi-Cosi car seats rated basic because head-injury risk was higher than with the other infant seats tested.

"Basic does not imply unsafe," Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports' auto test center in Connecticut, told The New York Times. "We aren't going to say, 'Don't buy this child seat.' "

All car seats sold in the U.S. must meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, and car-seat manufacturers certify their own compliance.

For the infant-seat crash tests, Consumer Reports updated its test parameters, increasing the simulated vehicle speed to 35 mph from 30 mph and installing the rear-facing infant seat on a bench seat that uses cushioning and hardware found in a vehicle — in this case a 2010-11 Ford Flex's second row. It also added a simulated front seatback to the test.

Consumer Reports says its crash test and rankings account for an "extra margin of protection" that these car seats provide beyond the federal standards.

The 13 infant seats that earned the top score of best are:

  • Britax B-Safe
  • Chicco KeyFit
  • Chicco KeyFit 30
  • Cybex Aton 2
  • Cosco Comfy Carry
  • Evenflo Secure Ride 35
  • Graco SnugRide 30 (Classic Connect)
  • Maxi-Cosi Mico
  • Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite
  • Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus
  • Safety 1st onBoard35 Air
  • The First Years Contigo
  • The First Years Via I470

Click here for Consumer Reports' full test results (subscription required).

By Jennifer Newman | April 3, 2014 | Comments (5)

Comments 

Zerf

Interesting. When we shopped for our toddler car seat and checked sources like Consumer Reports the Britax seats were mostly all at the top of the list so that is what we chose. The one area it seemed like most manufacturers were concerned about were front and rear impact and only some seem concerned with side impact or it was only on higher end models. I am also surprised with how much the government and insurance companies spend on testing cars with seat belts, air bags etc that they don't do more testing on infant/toddler car seats.

jessica torres

i was wondering if you can tell me if the orbit infant car seat is a good carseat for an infant !

Diana

Got my daughters car set from Amazon using a discount tool on http://azondealbuddy.com. They have a yellow widget on their homepage that spits out discount codes on any product that you want to buy online. I use it every time I shop on Amazon for anything now. You many be able to find you a pretty good car seat using this tool.

Jenna

I'm confused- there is direct contradiction in this article in reference to the Graco SnugRide 30 (Classic Connect. Consumer report gives an elite score but the Times states it comes off it's base and the base cracks! What??!!!

heather

Graco has the snug ride, snug ride 30, and snug ride 35. It is still confusing to name products so similarly, but hopefully there are not typos and the products actually being reviewed do correspond with Graco's dumb product nomenclature....

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