NEW YORK, New York — Evenflo, the ubiquitous child seat maker, is under investigation for passing booster seats in federally mandated tests even though video of the tests clearly shows the seats fail to protect the children sitting in them. Evenflo claims these seats meet or exceed the safety standards established by law. Evenflo also touts the performance of its booster seat during side-impact testing. Therefore, experts say that Evenflo might be misleading the public by making those claims according to a report appearing on WCAX3. Booster seats are not safe for younger or smaller children. Seats with shoulder harnesses are a safer option, according to experts.
The test video obtained by news outlets shows a child-sized crash test mannequin sitting in a booster seat. The video captures the reaction of the child’s body in a side-impact car crash. The mannequin stays in place for the most part because of the seat belt. However, the child’s body is tossed around violently. Evenflo said that the testing of its seats is rigorous, and the seat tested passed, despite the child mannequin’s reaction to the collision.
Experts who reviewed video of crash tests conducted on Evenflo’s Big Kid Booster seats said that the testing was not rigorous at all in reality. However, the company markets its Big Kid Booster seats as performing well in side-impact crash testing. The company used misleading test results to market its Big Kid Booster as safe.
The company also misleads customers about the height and weight of a child who could fit in a booster seat safely. Evenflo claims that its Big Kid Booster seat is safe for a child over 30 pounds. The minimum weight threshold touted by Evenflo, arguably to convince parents of small children to purchase new car seats as their children grow, is ten pounds lighter than minimum weight recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The American Academy of Pediatrics also counsels parents to leave their children in the car seat with shoulder harnesses for as long as possible.