Consumer Reports has important new child-seat advice for parents. Based on its latest tests, Consumer Reports is urging parents to move their children out of infant carriers and into rear-facing convertible seats at a younger age.
Consumer Reports crash-tested infant seats and rear-facing convertible seats using a 22-pound dummy representing a one-year-old child. With more than half the infant seats, the dummy’s head hit the simulated front-seat back. But that didn’t happen with 24 of the 25 convertible seats.
Children are technically too tall for an infant carrier seat when their head is less than one inch from the top of the carrier’s shell. But Consumer Reports’ new advice goes further, recommending that all children be moved to a rear-facing convertible seat by their first birthday, even if they haven’t outgrown their infant carrier.
You should keep your child in a rear-facing seat until he or she is at least two years old. The seat can then be installed in a forward-facing position and used for several more years.
Along with crash tests, Consumer Reports evaluates each seat for ease of use and installation because without proper installation, even the safest seat can’t fully protect your child in a crash.
Top ratings for convertible seats go to the Chicco Nextfit for $300 and the Britax Marathon ClickTight Seat for $265.
But you don’t have to spend a lot to get a safe seat. Consumer Reports recommends two Best Buys—the Evenflo Sure Ride for $100 and the Cosco Scenera NEXT for $45. Both of those Best Buy car seats are widely available. You can find the Evenflo Sure Ride and Cosco Scenera NEXT on Walmart’s website as well as Amazon’s.
To make sure your seat is properly installed, look for a car-seat checkup event near you at safekids.org.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.