If you think child restraints have not improved over the last thirty years, just take a look at some of these photos. Doesn't it make you just cringe? At the time, it was all that was available and these seats probably saved a life or two, or many. Looking at them now, needless to say, it was better to use these than having a child unrestrained in a vehicle. Fortunately, the companies who made these seats have made a lot of progress over the years and newer companies go to great lengths to establish themselves as safety innovators.
Who are the leaders in safety innovation? Are all car seat manufacturers equal? When searching for the "safest" car seat available, there are several things to consider:
- All car seats have to meet the same FMVSS213 standards.
- All car seat manufacturers self-certify their seats.
- All car seats are designed by highly trained and educated engineers.
- Some companies employ engineers with more experience than others.
- What is the company's safety record? You can easily check the last 10 years of safety records for all child seat manufacturers by clicking here.
Something else to consider is the fact that manufacturers do not have to make their crash test results available to the public. Wouldn't you want to know how the car seat performs beyond the standard FMVSS213? If a manufacturer claims it has side impact protection, has higher harness weights than the standards and has extra safety features, wouldn't you want to know how those features perform during a crash? Marketing claims are one thing but where are the test results to back up those claims?
Many parents seek information from Consumer Reports and other organizations. However, these organizations do not always disclose their processes and procedures. Their studies are sometimes flawed with lack of data and proper protocols (2007 CR). Going straight to the manufacturer would give you more accurate information. The manufacturer knows their crash results, knows their seats inside and out, and knows how the seat will perform, etc. Some parents go to the Ease of Use rating established by NHTSA. That's an interesting concept. Ease of use means you might use it properly every time and that is one key component to a safe seat. However, as parent, are you willing to sacrifice the convenience of ease of use over safety?
Manufacturers take on the responsibility of keeping kids safer in a vehicle during a crash. This is a very serious task and none take it lightly. If you dig down deep enough you will discover that the most robust material for crash absorption is steel. The Radian is made with a steel frame. It is also important to reduce the G-forces by bringing down the center of gravity on a child restraint. How do you do that? You can either design a system or simply build the seat with a lower profile. The Radian's low profile design is not just convenient for placing a child in the seat, but its design reduces those G-forces on the child, helping to reduce forward movement. Extended rear-facing provides the growing child with more protection in the event of a crash. The Radian provides the highest rear-facing capacity on the market, up to 45lbs. It is also one of the few child restraints with rear-facing top tether capability. The top tether helps with rebound in frontal and rear-end crashes and provides stability in a side impact crash. LATCH was developed to reduce errors and confusion for parents. Studies show this has not been the case since its inception in 2001. In order to reduce the risk of a child exceeding the lower anchor limits on a vehicle, Diono created SuperLATCH. SuperLATCH does reduce the risk of a child exceeding the lower anchor limits. Lower anchors in all vehicles manufactured after Sept 2005 were mandated by NHTSA to be made stronger. SuperLATCH's heavy duty four-pronged connectors, combined with Radian's steel frame and crash testing at 35 mph, proved the Radian could contain a child up to 80lbs in the harness and the seat stayed intact during a severe crash.
There is lots of information out on the internet. It can be confusing and overwhelming, especially to first-time parents. We take the guesswork out and make it simple to understand. Our crash test results can be viewed on our website. All of our accessories can be used with our car seats. Diono is about safety innovation. No matter what standards are set, we will always strive to exceed them for the safety of your child.