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Vindication for Orbit Baby – almost

NHTSA has concluded its independent review of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat, brought on by the Consumer Reports “Do Not Buy” rating that was released at the end of August. Their findings confirm that the Orbit Infant Car Seat is perfectly safe.

If you aren’t up to date on this story, read this first.

In order to fully investigate the findings by Consumer Reports, NHTSA tested the Orbit using two different procedures. First, they tested according to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Then, they also tested using the exact same methods employed by Consumer Reports. The testing was attended by representatives from Consumer Union, and every single seat passed. In addition, NHTSA conducted detailed research into its databases to try to find any real-world examples of a performance failure on the part of an Orbit Infant Seat. Guess what they found? Nothing.

The joke is, Consumer Reports is still standing by their story. The Orbit team is understandably frustrated. “We believe that Consumer Reports’ decision unnecessarily confuses parents. We have always tried to put the concerns and safety of our consumers first, and have tried to do our utmost to research this issue independently as well as cooperate with NHTSA at every turn. We believe Consumer Reports should reconsider their recommendations.”

Consumer Reports, your credibility is shot with me. You asked NHTSA to investigate Orbit based on your test results. NHTSA has clearly spent a considerable amount of time doing just that. Just admit that you wasted a lot of people’s time and caused some considerable damage to the reputation of a very good product.

Just this week, I spoke to a childhood friend who is expecting a baby. We were discussing strollers, and her husband said, “well the Orbit looks nice, but there’s no way I’d buy it after what I read in Consumer Reports.” Even after I’d explained the whole situation, he still wasn’t totally convinced. Think about all the people who don’t even get to hear the other side of the story. It’s appalling.

An apology is in order, but it may never come. Bravo to Orbit Baby for handling this awful situation with grace and intelligence.

To read the letter NHTSA sent to Consumer Union, click here.

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