Many of you may have followed this debate between Orbit Baby and the negative review of their infant carseat by Consumer Report. I posted each new communication as the event unfolded starting in late August (post on 8/31, and 9/2). We are loyal Orbit Baby parents and were very disturbed by this turn of events, but wholly confident in their product. Below is the conclusion of this debate. The NHTSA has cleared Orbit Baby carseats of any safety concerns, and once again Consumer Report is looking less than credible in their evaluation of the safety of a baby product. I think many Orbit Baby parents had already come to this conclusion based on our personal experiences, so this won't be a shock to them!
Dear Orbit Baby parent,
Update October 26th, 2009: We had promised that we would update you on the situation with Consumer Reports’ testing of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat. We are pleased to let you know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has sent Consumers Union (the publisher of Consumer Reports) a letter officially stating that no further inquiry is necessary because our product meets all federal safety standards.
NHTSA reviewed their comprehensive database of the safety history of the Orbit Baby Infant Car Seat on the road, and did not find any reports of injuries, seat separations, or other safety risks.
NHTSA conducted its own tests on the Infant Car Seat. All tests passed, and no separations occurred in both sets of tests:
Crash testing according to the official Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS)
Research crash tests to match the non-compliant procedures that Consumer Reports’ magazine used in August
You can read NHTSA’s official letter to Consumers Union about Orbit Baby here. We have also provided more information below in an effort to further clarify the situation.
Though Consumer Reports has repeatedly tried to raise what they felt were safety concerns with our Infant Car Seat, their concerns have been refuted by every subsequent test and piece of research conducted by regulatory agencies and independent labs. (You can read more about our past statements, and learn more about how Consumers Union improperly conducted its simulated compliance testing, here.)
Based on a comprehensive inquiry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now issued an official statement that it "believes that no further action is currently warranted" in researching the safety of Orbit Baby’s Infant Car Seat.
In its inquiry, NHTSA reviewed their database of over three years of comprehensive real-world reports from consumers, safety personnel, and NHTSA's Early Warning Reporting system with NO reports of deaths, injuries, car seat separations, or complaints. NHTSA does not solely rely on lab tests, like those conducted by Consumer Reports, when evaluating the performance of a safety product. At Orbit Baby, we have always emphasized the real-world safety that families face out on the roads, and we are proud of the fact that our track record of safety is a key factor in NHTSA’s conclusion.
NHTSA conducted the official Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 tests that are required of all US car seats, and as expected, our Infant Car Seat passed this testing, and no separations occurred. In addition, NHTSA further conducted research tests to simulate the non-compliant test conditions that Consumers Union conducted. These tests were all done at the same lab that Consumers Union originally used, and were attended by three Consumers Union representatives. NHTSA also reported no issues or car seat separations on these tests.
In NHTSA’s recent letter to Consumers Union, it confirmed that the magazine’s original tests of the Infant Car Seat deviated from their official government test procedures and were NOT configured correctly according to FMVSS No. 213. We believe the improper test set-up Consumer Reports’ used likely contributed to their inconsistent results, and you can read our original response to their mis-testing of our product here.
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. Even though NHTSA has directly told Consumers Union that the inquiry into Orbit Baby’s Infant Car Seat safety is concluded, Consumer Reports maintains its assessment that this seat poses a safety risk. We believe that Consumer Reports’ decision unnecessarily confuses parents, and believe that they should reconsider their recommendations.
As an Orbit Baby parent, please continue to take advantage of these helpful resources on our website to ensure that you, as well as the caregivers of your children, are educated on proper car seat usage.
View Car Seat installation videos
Download Orbit Baby product manuals
Visit the FAQ's section
Read Orbit Baby's position on car seat safety
Email us anytime with any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you once again for your support of Orbit Baby.
Joseph, Bryan, and The Orbit Team
Photo of Pooka by Hannah Hardaway Photography