US magazine Consumer Reports is in what one national TV newscast called “full damage control” after a government department re-ran a test the magazine had used to condemn nine out of 12 child car seats as unsafe in a 38mph side impact test.

Although the magazine insisted part of its results remained valid it has now admitted the test – one of a few it outsouces rather than conducting in-house – was actually done by another firm  – errroneously at 70mph.

The furore over the magazine’s original claims made earlier this month apparently prompted some parents to replaced newly-purchased child seats and caused concern among their manufacturers. Consequently, the National Highway and Traffic Administration (NHTSA) stepped in and conducted its own test, saying all seats performed as they should at 38mph.

To its credit, the magazine – with 4.2m ‘paper’ subscribers and a further 2.5m on line – has admitted the error, publicised it widely and promised to re-do the test.

Given the nature of US commerce to call in the lawyers, we doubt this will be the end of the matter.