This rising characteristic reduces toddler head damage threat in CR’s exams

By Emily A. Thomas and Jeff S. Bartlett

Automobile seats for youngsters have improved dramatically since they had been first designed in 1968, and Shopper Experiences’ testing reveals that progress is constant, with the proliferation of “load legs.”

Initially from Europe, this intelligent characteristic provides the automobile seat further assist by extending a “leg” from a automobile seat’s base to the car’s flooring. It stands upright from the entrance fringe of the seat, including stabilization and higher integrating the kid seat to the car throughout a crash, lowering the switch of crash vitality to the kid occupant. Within the U.S., this design modification is mostly seen on rear-facing toddler automobile seats, nevertheless it has expanded into convertible automobile seats.

Eleven of the practically 40 toddler seats and one of many greater than two dozen convertible automobile seats in our scores use a load leg design, and plenty of of them carried out fairly effectively in our exams. Six of those automobile seats are rated Greatest for crash safety, our highest ranking, as a result of they supply the potential for an extra margin of security in a crash. The remaining six fashions rating Higher for crash safety.

However customers ought to bear in mind to contemplate the total spectrum of seat efficiency, together with match and ease of use, when selecting one to purchase.

A Extra Consultant Crash Take a look at

The target of Shopper Experiences’ crash exams for automobile seats is to mirror present car design and real-world crashes. To go the present federal security normal, automobile seats with load legs are examined with out the load leg. Nevertheless, we wish to make sure that every seat is given its most profit by implementing using the load leg in CR’s exams. As a result of any such seat has develop into extra commonplace, CR up to date its crash-test sled—the fixture that simulates a frontal crash—to incorporate a carpeted floor to raised symbolize a car flooring. Beforehand, the load leg was prolonged to a metal plate on the sled flooring.

John Powers

Which Automobile Seats Have Load Legs?

The next seats are at present out there in the marketplace and in our scores. The fashions are listed with the present retail value.

CR’s Tackle Load Legs

  • They’re a welcome security innovation. Our exams, utilizing infant-sized dummies, confirmed the typical head-injury threat was about 46 p.c lower than the typical head damage threat of automobile seat fashions with no load leg.

  • A load leg isn’t sufficient by itself to make sure the very best margin of security. Six of the load-leg toddler seats scored Higher for crash safety—on a par with another seats with out that characteristic. We noticed the best good thing about decreased head-injury threat when the automobile seat was put in with each the load leg and decrease anchors throughout all fashions.

  • Virtually the entire 12 little one seats with load legs from the 2 teams had been rated Very Good or Wonderful in our ease-of-use testing. Though the load leg takes an extra step throughout set up, setup is pretty fast and straightforward in most car seating positions. One warning is that middle seating positions which have a big driveline “hump” within the flooring might stop the leg from being totally prolonged, and subsequently require the seats be put in within the outboard seating positions. For instance, Audi states in its car proprietor’s handbook that seats with load legs are for use solely within the rear outboard or entrance passenger seating positions.

  • It is very important word that each one our outcomes for these seats are based mostly on assessments and crash safety carried out utilizing the load leg, however these seats meet minimal authorities requirements with out utilizing the leg.

  • The LATCH fit-to-vehicle evaluation for 10 of the 12 seats was higher than the belt fit-to-vehicle as a result of these seats embody options that usually help LATCH set up.

  • These seats additionally are usually costlier than seats that embody fewer options. Cheaper seats are nonetheless secure when used and put in accurately, however these seats supply an extra margin of security and the potential for simpler set up. One exception is the Evenflo LiteMax DLX, which is priced at an inexpensive $170.

  • Whatever the load leg’s advantages, CR nonetheless recommends transferring to a rear-facing convertible seat no later than a baby’s first birthday to additional scale back the potential for head damage. With greater than half of the toddler seats examined, the take a look at dummy moved exterior the safety of the automobile seat and its head made contact with the simulated entrance seatback—even with a load leg.

  • To ensure that load legs to be extensively used, the flooring of some automobiles may must be strengthened to assist them. Stellantis cautions towards utilizing load legs in its automobiles as a result of the ground isn’t designed to assist the load, which will be significantly magnified throughout a crash. You’ll want to verify your car proprietor’s handbook for load-leg compatibility.

We’re happy to see load legs changing into extra prevalent within the U.S. due to their clear crash-protection profit. It is a characteristic value contemplating when searching for a automobile seat.

Beneath are the 11 toddler automobile seats and one convertible seat that we now have examined with load legs. Rankings can be found to CR members.

See our full toddler automobile seat scores and convertible automobile seat scores. Study how we take a look at automobile seats.

Clek Liing

Maxi-Cosi Mico Max Plus

Evenflo Gold SecureMax

Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 Nido

Cybex Aton Q

Evenflo LiteMax DLX

Nuna Pipa

Nuna Pipa Lite

Cybex Aton 2

Cybex Platinum Cloud Q

Cybex Aton M

Cybex Sirona S

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Shopper Experiences is an impartial, nonprofit group that works aspect by aspect with shoppers to create a fairer, safer, and more healthy world. CR doesn’t endorse services or products, and doesn’t settle for promoting. Copyright © 2022, Shopper Experiences, Inc.

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