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Consumer Reports Car Seat Review Not Consistent With Federal Standards

Published Jan 5th 2007, 4:54pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Evenflo Car Seats Are Safe and Effective - Tested and Proven to Meet or Exceed Government Standards

Classicclear_group_1VANDALIA, Ohio, Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Evenflo Company, Inc. is deeply concerned that Consumer Reports magazine has decided to publish an article that may potentially alarm consumers about the safety of their infant child restraints. The magazine decided to publish this article without consultation with child seat manufacturers, even though the tests appear to have been conducted in October and November of last year. Evenflo is committed to manufacturing safe and highly effective car seats that meet or exceed government standards. In addition, Evenflo subjects its car seats to extensive testing both in-house and through independent laboratories to ensure every car seat is compliant before initial sale of its products and during ongoing production.

Despite our request, Consumer Reports has declined to provide us with an advance copy of the article, and further declined to disclose in advance of publication the pertinent information relating to its underlying test conditions and protocols. This is especially unreasonable, given that the magazine's test conditions and protocols appear to conflict with the collective experience of car seat manufacturers, NHTSA and the scientific community. Rigorous tests conducted by NHTSA and Evenflo have consistently shown that both the Evenflo Discovery(R) and Evenflo Embrace(TM) exceed government standards.

Without access to the full review of the data collected by Consumer Reports, we are unable to provide a detailed assessment of the magazine's findings; however, we can offer the following facts and observations about the specific Evenflo products that the Consumer Reports article appears to discuss:

Discovery infant child restraint
Since introducing the model 391 Discovery in April 2005, Evenflo has conducted at least 200 dynamic tests at three different laboratories. Most of these tests were conducted at test velocities that significantly exceeded the forces under the NHTSA standard. None of the tests demonstrated any back angle compliance issue. Additionally, NHTSA has twice tested the model 391 Discovery and it passed all dynamic testing requirements on each occasion. Thus, between Evenflo and NHTSA, there are more than 200 passing tests regarding the Discovery at velocities that meet or exceed the government standards. Evenflo unequivocally stands behind the integrity of its test results and the Discovery(R) child restraint seat and disputes the validity of the yet to be disclosed Consumer Reports tests.

Proper evaluation of those tests requires, at a minimum, information about the test setup, the crash pulse, the dummy and any alterations from the specifications in 49 CFR 572, as well as any deviations from the test protocol set forth in FMVSS 213 and NHTSA document TP-213 Laboratory Test Procedure for FMVSS 213. We have requested this information from Consumer Reports as well as an opportunity to inspect the Discovery(R) units that were actually tested.

Embracepremier_livingston Embrace infant child restraint
Evenflo likewise unequivocally stands behind its Embrace infant seat. Evenflo disputes the validity of the yet to be disclosed Consumer Reports test(s) and will review the testing information once provided by Consumer Reports. Based on the limited information available to Evenflo at this time, however, it appears that the testing protocol and equipment used by Consumer Reports in connection with the Embrace infant seat does not conform to test methods proposed or adopted by experts from academia, industry, test agencies or government entities throughout the world. Put simply, there are serious issues with both the test protocol and equipment that cast serious doubt on the validity of the test results. Moreover,
Evenflo is unaware of any material difference in performance when the Embrace infant seat is secured by the LATCH method or through use of the vehicle seat belt.

All Evenflo car seats sold today meet thorough standards established by NHTSA and are extensively tested by car seat manufacturers and the government. Consumer Reports suggestion that the present standards should be abandoned in favor of its protocol is inconsistent with real world experience and well grounded input from the scientific community received in connection with prior consideration by NHTSA to increase the child seat crash test speed.

As noted by independent commentators, there is no evidence to suggest that infant child restraints would generally be more effective to protect children in real world crashes if designed to meet higher crash speeds. In fact, such changes may be counterproductive to the overall safety of car seats in real world accidents. Like other car seat manufacturers and NHTSA, Evenflo is committed to manufacturing safe and highly effective child restraint seats.

We urge consumers to demand proper disclosure and review of Consumer Reports test results and to carefully weigh all relevant information before drawing any conclusions based upon Consumer Reports forthcoming article.

About Evenflo
Committed to innovation, safety and comfort for more than 85 years, Evenflo has been the trusted name in everything babies need to grow, go, play and thrive. From bottles and high chairs to carriers and car seats, Evenflo creates inspired products for today's active families worldwide. Evenflo regularly taps into its Safe Baby and Toddler Council, a group comprised of experts from key areas in the field of child care, to provide product insights and research. More information can be found at

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