An investigation by ProPublica accused Evenflo of putting “profits over child safety” by marketing the Big Kid booster seat as safe for children who weigh as little as 30 pounds — which can often mean a 1-year-old toddler.
Evenflo is also accused of misleading parents by advertising the booster seat as “side-impact tested” when actual crash-tests demonstrated that children would likely be severely injured or killed.
The videos were released as part of lawsuits involving children who were paralyzed in car accidents while riding in an Evenflo Big Kid booster seat.
One child, Jillian Brown, suffered “internal decapitation” in a side-impact car accident and is paralyzed from the neck down.
According to ProPublica, the booster seat in the horrific crash-test videos “passed” Evenflo’s tests for side-impact car accidents, even though a child would’ve resulted in severe injuries or death.
This is because in the U.S., there are no regulatory standards for side-impact or rollover crash-tests for child car seats. Manufacturers get to make up their own tests and decide what passes or fails.
In lawsuits, engineers for Evenflo testified that the only way a car seat would fail a test was if the car seat broke apart or the child fell out of the seat.
Another serious concern is that the Evenflo Big Kid booster seat has a minimum weight requirement of just 30 pounds in the U.S.
In Canada, where the minimum weight for booster seats is 40 pounds, the exact same seat has a warning label about the risk of “SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH.”
Many 1-year-old toddlers weigh 30 pounds, but experts do not recommend switching a child to a booster seat until they outgrow a 5-point harness car seat. These days, many car seats can accommodate children up to 65 pounds.