Rear-Facing Car Seats are Often Untested, Installed Wrong

Mar 22, 2011, 04:53 by David Hope

Rear-facing car seats are typically the safest and most popular choice for children under the age of one. What happens after that - or after the 40lb. mark - are both critical decisions. Unfortunately, many of the consumer reports and safety ratings on car seats may not be as reliable as consumers are led to believe.

There are more than 100 car seat models for children on the U.S. market but they are not fully covered by federal safety standards, officials say.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency charged with carrying out crash testing, only tests for child seat car crash protections that are regulated, such as a car seat's effectiveness in a front-end collision. The agency does not test car seats for children who weigh more than 65 pounds, or for side-impact collision or seat-belt fit, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

Car seat manufacturers say they are trying to accommodate parents of overweight children. Car seats with harnesses are designed and regulated to hold children who weigh up to 65 pounds, but are now marketed to accommodate children weighing as much as 85 pounds, the report said.

Some children weigh 40 pounds by age 2 1/2 -- when they are too young, and often too short, for the belt-positioning booster seat -- leaving parents to figure out an option on their own, the Post said.

Source: UPI