Car seat technology has improved dramatically since car seats were first introduced decades ago. And Consumer Reports says its tests show that one safety innovation could significantly cut the risk of head injuries.
Natalie Gershtein has a one-year-old at home and another baby on the way. Her top priority when looking for a car seat is safety.
“Baby stuff is always innovating and changing at a miraculous rate. So, they’re always coming out with new and better,” she said.
Car seats have changed over the years, and Consumer Reports says today’s seats are no doubt safer.
Like in the case of load legs — a clever feature originally from Europe that gives car seats extra support by extending a “leg” from the car seat base to the car floor.
“It allows for crash forces to be absorbed more so by the car seat and load leg, and less crash energy to be transferred to your child occupant,” explained Emily Thomas, Ph.D, the manager of auto safety at Consumer Reports.
Consumer Reports: Tests show load legs reduce infant head injury risk
Consumer Reports’ crash testing shows the added safety benefit of a load leg as it limits both the car seat and the child’s motion.
“We found that when using infant-sized dummies, there was an average 46 percent reduction in head injury risk for seats that have a load leg vs. those that don’t have a load leg,” said Thomas.
You can expect to pay more for that extra margin of safety.
For example, Consumer Reports’ top-rated infant seat from Clek offers excellent crash protection with its load leg (about $500).
A more reasonably priced seat that also scored “Best” for crash protection is the Evenflo LiteMax DLX (about $225).
Before shopping for a seat with a load leg, Consumer Reports says to check your car’s manual for compatibility.
Thomas says that also pairing lower anchors with a load leg car seat can offer an even greater level of safety.