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Orbit gets thumbs-up from NHTSA

We just received a letter from Joseph Hei, CEO and Co-founder of Orbit Baby. After last week’s debacle with Consumer Reports, Orbit went straight to the NHTSA and asked them to test the seat. Small wonder, it passed with flying colors. Consumer Reports continued to defend their testing, but public opinion online has been widespread in favor of Orbit Baby (though their blog moderator has obviously stopped approving comments that go against their party line, since the one I submitted didn’t make the cut). In my opinion, faulty installation is the only plausible explanation for why 2 out of 6 units failed under their conditions, when every other crash test conducted in accordance with the proper use of the seat has been successful.

Good for Orbit. Hopefully a sincere apology from Consumer Reports is forthcoming, but frankly whatever they say will be too little too late. I don’t mean to sound bitter, but seriously. Anyway, read an excerpt from the letter below.

“As I mentioned in my last letter to you in regards to the Consumer Reports testing of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat, we referred this matter to NHTSA, the government agency responsible for car seat safety. I am pleased to share the following information:

Update September 1, 2009: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat for compliance with all crash testing requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213. NHTSA confirmed that the Infant Car Seat passes these tests.

NHTSA also independently verified:

  • The middle shoulder harness slot is the appropriate slot for the size of the official CRABI 12 test dummy.
  • The knob on the car seat Base should be turned to engage the StrongArm tightening mechanism to achieve the regulated seat belt tension for compliance testing.

Therefore, our Infant Car Seat not only passes our own tests in independent labs, it also passes tests conducted by NHTSA, the government agency that regulates traffic safety.

Orbit Baby maintains that Consumer Reports did not properly follow the Infant Car Seat instructions when they conducted their tests. (Our full response can be found here.) As an Orbit Baby parent, I believe that this issue highlights the importance of following car seat instructions, as well as the need for parents to educate grandparents, babysitters, and other caregivers on proper car seat usage.”

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