May 5, 2005

Consumer Reports finds two child car seats perform poorly in LATCH mode

Yonkers, New York – Consumers Reports has announced that two child car seats perform poorly in crash tests when connected in rear-facing LATCH mode, but are safe when used with a vehicle’s seatbelt.

The Combi Avatar convertible seat was rated “Not Acceptable” when the LATCH strap connecting the rear-facing seat was completely cut and the seat lunged off the test rig, at a test speed below that which the U.S. government says car seats must withstand. Consumer Reports has urged the manufacturer to fix the problem.

The Evenflo PortAbout 5 infant seat tumbled off its base at a crash speed just above the federal testing standard. Consumer Reports considers this margin of safety too narrow and has rated the seat “Poor” for crash protection. Two other seats, the Britax Marathon convertible seat and the Combi Tyro infant seat had problems that were less serious when they tilted too far back on impact.

However, all four seats performed fine when tested using the vehicle’s seatbelt to secure them. Consumer Reports advises parents who own these car seats to secure the seat to the vehicle using the safety belt, rather than the LATCH system, in which connectors on the car seat attach to metal anchors in the car.

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