In a quick response to word that Consumer Reports had rated their Orbit Travel System a “don’t buy,” Orbit Baby released a statement today that parents who have purchased their products have nothing to fear.
Via e-mail, the company’s CEO, Joseph Hei, responded to a few question from Babble on why he thinks parents minds should be at ease:
Babble: Would it be fair to say that Orbit Baby wants people to ignore the Consumer Reports warnings?
We certainly don’t agree with Consumer Reports’ “Don’t Buy” rating, and we don’t agree with Consumer Reports’ instructions to only use the Infant Car Seat without the Base.
We agree with Consumer Reports in that car seats should be carefully installed and used according to all product instructions.
Babble: Why do you think the Consumer Reports warning is unfair?
Our greatest concerns are that they used a harness position that was too high for the size of the dummy, and that the test lab didn’t use the StrongArm self-tightening mechanism on the Base by not turning the installation knob. Orbit Baby’s technical experts are confident that Consumer Reports’ positioning of the shoulder harness at the top slot does not reflect compliance with Orbit Baby’s safety instructions, which state that the harness needs to be at or just below the infant’s shoulders. In fact, the same testing laboratory used by Consumers Union has repeatedly endorsed the middle slot as the correct slot for Orbit Baby’s federal compliance testing. We have also had a separate independent lab perform a fit test, and also conclude that the top slot is an improper slot to use for the size of the test dummy used by Consumer Reports.
In addition, even in the video posted on their website on this issue, Consumer Reports mistakenly tell parents to use the Infant Car Seat off the Base with only one Belt Clip engaged. Our manual clearly calls for using both Belt Clips, and their recommendation represents a safety risk. We are extremely disappointed that Consumers Union chose to provide this misleading testing information, and mistaken usage recommendation, to our consumers.
As many parents understand, a tight and properly fitted safety harness for their child is critical to the safety of a car seat. Consumer Reports themselves recommend that parents diligently follow all product instructions, so we are very concerned that they did not follow. Not following a car seat’s instructions can result in unpredictable test conditions, and we believe this is reflected in Consumer Report’s inconsistent results.
We have already proactively contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), to inform them of the Consumer Reports test results and to share our own data and investigation. NHTSA is in charge of enforcing car seat safety laws in the US, and we will work cooperatively with NHTSA should they have any further recommendations for us.
You can find out more from OrbitBaby’s Hei on their site.
And for more – they responded with their testing mechanism.