We have decided to suspend our recommendation of Recaro’s convertible car seats (ProRIDE and PerformanceRIDE) after a report in Consumer Reports has raised safety concerns.
The magazine said in an report last month that the “harness support hardware at the rear of the seat shell . . . broke” during CR’s crash performance tests. This failure happened with a 35 pound dummy—far below the seat’s rated 65 lb. capacity.
While the seat tested was the Recaro PerformanceRIDE, we assume the ProRIDE may have similar concerns. That’s because the seats share many of the same components.
This bad news for Recaro comes on the heels of another, unrelated recall for the ProRIDE and PerformanceRIDE. The recall focused on a faulty tether strap, which is not the component Consumer Reports said failed in their tests. Recaro argued with safety regulators for over a year before agreeing to that recall, according to the New York Times.
As of this writing, the NHTSA (which regulates car seats) has not confirmed this new issue with Recaro seats, nor has the government issued a recall.
Recaro responded to the Consumer Reports story with this statement:
“The Recaro Performance RIDE convertible car seat has saved the lives of many children involved in a car crash and has never experienced a field failure after being in the marketplace for over five years. Recaro tests to meet and exceed all National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test requirements. The research by Consumer Reports was conducted with a crash test at 40 percent more energy at its peak than current NHTSA standards. We want to reassure our consumers that we take all aspects of a child’s safety seriously and will examine these findings closely. Recaro appreciates Consumer Reports’ interest in child passenger safety.”
Our take: while there are no safety accidents or incidents involving these seats that we are aware of, we will withdraw our recommendation and A rating for the Recaro ProRIDE and PerformanceRIDE pending further investigation of these concerns. As Recaro points out, the CR tests are more stringent than the government’s crash tests . . . but the fact the seats failed with a crash test dummy that weighed far less than the seat’s capacity is a major concern.
If you own either of these seats, we would continue using the seat in REAR-FACING mode only. (The crash test failure happened with the seat in forward-facing model; there is no safety concern with the seat in rear-facing mode).