Consumer Reports has recalled a study of rear-facing infant car seats that claimed that many seats failed crash tests using standards tougher than the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration’s. Apparently, NHSTA contacted Consumer Reports after reading the study and concluded that:
“The organization’s data show its side-impact tests were actually conducted under conditions that would represent being struck in excess of 70 mph, twice as fast as the group claimed. When NHTSA tested the same child seats in conditions representing the 38.5 mph conditions claimed by Consumer Reports, the seats stayed in their bases as they should, instead of failing dramatically.”
Dubner and Levitt have this story double-covered at Freakonomics. Levitt offers important advice to groups interesting in testing the efficacy of car seats: compare the performance of car seats to standard safety seats for children (or in the case of non-infant car seats, adult seat belts).