SAN ANTONIO – Children’s car seats have come a long way in the past 60 years, and Consumer Reports’ testing shows that progress is continuing with the the emergence of a feature called the load leg.
Originally from Europe, the load leg gives car seats extra support by extending a “leg” from the car seat base to the car floor.
“It allows for crash forces to be absorbed more so by the car seat and the load leg and less crash energy to be transferred to your child occupant,” said Emily Thomas of Consumer Reports.
Crash testing by Consumer Reports shows that the load leg helps safety because it limits both the car seat’s and the child’s motion.
“We found that when using infant-sized dummies that there was an average 46% reduction in head injury risk for seats that have a load leg versus those that don’t have a load leg,” Thomas said.
You can expect to pay more for that extra margin of safety.
Consumer Reports’ top-rated infant seat from Clek, the Liing model, offers excellent crash protection with its load leg. It costs about $500.
A more reasonably priced seat that also scored “best” for crash protection is the Evenflo LiteMax DLX, which costs around $225.
Before shopping for a seat with a load leg, check your vehicle’s manual .