A child is the most precious cargo any adult will ever transport in his or her vehicle. To ensure children reach their destination safely, responsible parents follow official government guidelines for selecting and using child car seats. Unfortunately, a major car seat manufacturer faces allegations that it prioritized profits over child safety.
The crux of a potential class-action lawsuit is that Evenflo Company, a well-known manufacturer of child car seats, misled buyers. Plaintiffs filed the suit in federal court in Ohio with a proposal to cover anyone who purchased a certain type of Evenflo car seat between 2008 and today. Here are a few things you should know about this pending litigation.
The federal testing standard
Evenflo makes a booster seat, the Big Kid booster, for children who weigh between 40 and 100 pounds. In its advertising and marketing materials, the company tells consumers that the seat “meets or exceeds all applicable federal safety standards and Evenflo’s side-impact standards.” The problem, according to the lawsuit, is that there really are no federal side-impact standards. Evenflo’s testing standards, moreover, may be less rigorous than the company leads consumers to believe.
Evenflo’s testing standard
Investigative reporting from the nonprofit news organization, ProPublica, revealed problems with Evenflo’s side-impact testing. That is, the testing does not follow any official guidelines. In fact, it may not mimic other types of crash testing for which there are state and federal requirements. Even worse, Evenflo’s internal video of side-impact tests shows that children may sustain serious injuries even when using the Big Kid booster correctly. According to the lawsuit, Evenflo had a financial motive for misleading consumers. That is, the company wanted to make it appear their booster seats were as safe or safer than those made by its primary competitor.
Class-action lawsuits take a long time to work through the judicial process. As such, it is likely to be months or years before there is much movement on the Evenflo case. Nonetheless, if you own one of the brand’s Big Kid booster seats, you likely want to keep an eye on how the matter unfolds.