One of the nation’s largest manufacturers of car booster seats is under fire amid allegations it put profits ahead of critical child safety issues.
ProPublica reports that a Congressional subcommittee is opening an investigation to consider whether the company violated the law. The news agency reported earlier this month the results of an investigation that found Evenflo marketed its child car booster seats as side-impact tested, even though company testing had revealed that children using the seats in a side-impact collision could be paralyzed or killed.
Evenflo’s top-selling Big Kid booster seat is marketed for use by older children who are not yet ready for an adult seat and seatbelt. Evenflo, a subsidiary of China-based Goodbaby International Holdings Ltd., has sold more than 18 million Big Kid boosters. Six other carseat makers currently sell their booster seats for children as small as 30 pounds.
There are no federal regulations for booster seats in side-impact crashes. So Evenflo, like other car seat makers, made up its own test, and then Evenflo passed itself, according to the ProPublica investigation. In its tests, the only way to fail was if the child-sized dummy ended up on the floor or the booster itself broke into pieces.
Child Car Seat Safety in Florida
Injuries involving car seats are among the most medically and legally complex a personal injury law firm can handle.
Our child injury attorneys know determining all parties responsible for causing or contributing to injury can be critical in these cases. When defective or dangerous car seat design is a factor in causation, a manufacturer or distributor can be held responsible, along with an at-fault driver and/or other liable parties.
Equally critical is determining full extent of injuries, including any long-term consequences of a child injury. Child development means these accidents have potential complications that are unique to children. Building a comprehensive claim requires significant experience in the field of child injury and product liability litigation.
Florida’s Child Car Seat Law
Under Florida Law (F.S. 316.612), all children 5 years of age or younger must be properly restrained no matter where they are sitting in the vehicle. Children through age 3 must be secured in a separate carrier or a vehicle manufacturer’s integrated child safety seat. For children aged 4 through 5 years, a separate carrier, an integrated child safety seat, or a safety belt may be used.
Florida strengthened its law in 2015, when it began requiring all children under age 6 to ride in a crash-tested, federally approved car seat or booster seat. Previously, 4- and 5-year-olds could wear a seat belt only.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a recall database where consumers can check to see if their child’s car seat is subject to any mandatory or voluntary recalls for dangers or defects.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests as best practice: all children whose weight or height is above the forward- facing limit for their Child Safety Seat (CSS) should use a belt positioning booster seat until the vehicle lap-and-shoulder belt fits properly, typically when they have reached 4 feet 9 inches and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
SafekidcsleeandCollier offers periodic child seat installation inspections. You can visit their website for a calendar of upcoming events.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.