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Orbit Baby Calls Foul On Consumer Reports Warning

By jeannesager |

orbit-travel-system1In 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.

Here’s a look at the Consumer Reports original statement as covered by Babble.

And for more – they responded with their testing mechanism.

Image: Amazon

More on Babble

About jeannesager



Jeanne Sager is a freelance writer and photographer living in upstate New York with her husband and daughter, Jillian. She maintains a blog of her award-winning columns at

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14 thoughts on “Orbit Baby Calls Foul On Consumer Reports Warning

  1. [...] UPDATE: OrbitBaby CEO Joseph Hei answers questions from Babble – says Orbit Travel System is safe. [...]

  2. Eric says:

    Does anyone under 60 really believe anything that Consumer Reports says? They have always had their favorite brands and rate anything from those brands highly regardless of their quality. Thank God for the internet with its gazillions of user reviews, exposure of defects, and comparative shopping tools.

  3. [...] not to buy the Orbit Infant System may have had questions upon hearing the manufacturer raise a dispute about Consumer Reports’ test methodology, and whether that may have contributed to the seat failures in our [...]

  4. [...] not to buy the Orbit Infant System may have had questions upon hearing the manufacturer raise a dispute about Consumer Reports’ test methodology, and whether that may have contributed to the seat failures in our [...]

  5. Julie says:

    I think this could be the downfall of COnsumer Reports. There is obviously something shady about this. I think someone or some company had it in for Orbit. But, as someone who bought the system knows, this product is head and shoulders above the rest and competitors are scared.

  6. Ken Cosgrove says:

    Consumer Reports is one of the most reliable, and trusted nonprofits in the country….millions of families depend on their research to make educated purchases. There has never been anything shady about Consumer reports. They have no ulterior motive, they exists to make things safer. Anyone who would attack Consumer Reports seems shady to me.

  7. MM says:

    I’ve had an Orbit system for over a year – I think CR didn’t install it correctly. CR has a long standing reputation of being trigger-happy when it comes to trashing companies.

  8. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    I preferred Baby Bargains to CR on carseat testing, but I trust in CR for just about ever other big purchase.

  9. Gina says:

    We love our Orbit Baby and stand by it. Something doesn’t add up here – our car seat is amazing.

  10. Kat says:

    Actually, Ken, I would argue that CR has a lot at stake in this situation: to protect their good name. After the debacle in 2007 where they came up with their own test methods for evaluating the safety of car seats, it seems like now they have to prove that they know how to install and test car seats properly. Maybe they can’t… Here’s another blogger’s perspective:

  11. Ken Cosgrove says:

    shame on consumer reports for using more stringent testing method to keep our children safe

  12. Stephanie says:

    Everyone going on about how they ‘love their Orbit’… clearly you haven’t been in a serious accident yet and therefor have no reason to question how “amazing” it is. If you’ll follow the link posted in the first comment, CR goes on and address all Orbit’s ‘concerns’ about incorrect installation. It’s clear that Orbit is grasping at straws, and rather then defend your over-priced fancy car seat, you might take a moment and consider that you could be putting your child’s life at risk.

  13. John says:

    Stephanie: maybe people are just concerned about the way CR is misrepresenting a product that is perfectly capable of keeping our children safe and has been doing so for many years. I’m going to guess that you are a big fan of the Graco carseat that CR keeps mentioning for some reason every time they talk about the Orbit.

  14. TIna says:

    I have the orbit baby and Daniel and I love it not just us but my baby does so.Its easy,safe,and the best one out there.One word: Amazing!!!

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