If you have an infant, you might want to shop for a convertible car seat.
That’s the recommendation from Consumer Reports after the results of its most recent tests. Convertible child seats are the second group of seats to be tested using the publication’s new test protocol for child car seats and it found that they provide added protection from head contact compared to infant seats. In previous testing using infant seats that include a detachable carrier, Consumer Reports found that the 22-pound dummy, presenting an average 12-month-old child, suffered a head strike against the simulated front seatback with 16 of the 30 tested models.
Using the same dummy, the publication tested rear-facing convertible models and found that the dummy’s head contacted the front seatback with only one of the 25 models tested. Consumer Reports attributes the enhanced safety to the seats’ longer shells and shape, providing additional space between the dummy’s head and the simulated seatback.
As a result of the tests, convertible car seats are recommended for kids around age 1, helping provide additional protection over an infant seat in protecting a child’s head. Consumer Reports also notes that you would need to purchase a convertible car seat if you want to keep your child rear-facing under their second birthday. In other words, it is recommended to transition your child to a rear-facing convertible seat no later than age 1.