Evenflo Booster Seat Lawsuit

A recent report by ProPublica found that Evenflo may have put its company profits before child safety by selling the “Big Kid” booster seat as “Side Impact Tested”, even though its own crash tests showed that a child seated in its booster seat could be in severe danger in a side-impact crash.

While head-on car crashes are more numerous, side-impact crashes are responsible for more than a quarter of deaths of children under 15 years old. Further, serious injuries or death of a child are more likely in a side-impact collision because there is only a door separating the child from the other vehicle.

In-Depth Video Details Problem With Evenflo Booster Seat

Please watch the video below to learn more about the Evenflo booster seat lawsuit.

A Failing of the Laws Enacted by Congress

The laws and regulations enacted by Congress over twenty years ago, require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to administer rules regarding the safety of child car seats and child booster seats, however, regulators never enacted standards for side-impact crashes. To date, car seats and booster seats only need to pass a crash test simulating a head-on collision.

As such, since no Federal standards apply to side-impact testing, companies make up their own tests and give themselves passing grades.

Evenflo Safety Engineer Speaks Out in Lawsuit Deposition

In discovery on a recent lawsuit against Evenflo, it was found that one of Evenflo’s own safety engineers (all the way back in 2012) asked company executives to change the labeling and instructions for parents to tell them that children lighter than 40 pounds would be safer in car seats that use harnesses to hold their small bodies in place.

According to internal company emails, an Evenflo executive “vetoed” the safety recommendation. That same year, the safety recommendation came up again. The same executive, who had now been promoted to vice president of marketing and product development, expressed his pointed opinion. “Why are we even talking about this?” he wrote in an email, adding, “I have looked at 40 lbs for the US numerous times and will not approve this.”

Evenflo big kid booster side impact tested

Screenshot from ProPublica video – Does this labeling provide a false sense of security?

Side-Impact Testing Video Shows Danger in Collisions

As Evenflo fought for its share of the market child booster seat market, it continued to put profits before child safety by selling the “Big Kid” booster seat as “Side Impact Tested”, even though its own crash tests showed that a child seated in its booster seat could be in severe danger in a side-impact crash.

In an obtained video, the company’s crash test results show a child-size crash test dummy being violently thrown to the side when struck in a simulated side-impact collision. Apparently, Evenflo thought that the results of the crash testing were good enough, as it has come out that the requirements for the test to fail were only if the child-sized dummy ended up on the floor or if the booster seat itself broke into pieces.

Later, in video depositions in the Evenflo booster seat lawsuit, the same Evenflo safety engineer admitted that, if real children moved that way in a side-impact crash, they could suffer catastrophic head, neck, and spinal injuries or die.

Are Other Child Booster Seats Manufacturers Also Too Blame?

Essentially all child booster seat manufacturers have had lawsuits filed against them. However, all of the lawsuits were filed by families of children seriously injured or killed in head-on collisions, not side-impact crashes.

In many of these lawsuits, the victims alleged that the companies were marketing their boosters for kids too small or too young to be protected.

Some of the manufacturers also include Graco and Dorel. Both companies advertise seats with so-called side-impact protection, however, Dorel told reporters that it stopped selling boosters for children under 40 pounds in 2016.

Internal Decapitation Lawsuits

Internal decapitation is the breaking of the spinal cord without the loss of one’s head, breaking the essential nerves controlling the body. In the past, it was commonly seen in car accidents in which there was no headrest or one that was not properly adjusted but now we are seeing cases of internal decapitation in children in booster seats.

There are two individual Evenflo lawsuits on file over internal decapitation.

  • In one, a 4-year-old boy and his mother were driving home from a birthday party when a hailstorm hit, and their car skidded into oncoming traffic and collided with another car. During the crash, the ligaments in the boy’s neck that attach his skull to his spine were severed, which is referred to as internal decapitation. (The word “decapitation” is a bit of a misnomer because the head is still attached to the body.)
  • In another, a 5-year-old girl, her sister and her mother were driving to daycare on their first day back from Disney World. Their car was “t-boned” in an intersection, which caused the girl’s shoulder to slip out of the seat belt. As her chest and stomach jackknifed over the lap portion of her seat belt, her head rotated downward and stretched her neck. The girl suffered what medical journals call “internal decapitation.” Fortunately, her sister healed from the injuries she sustained in the crash. But the five-year-old is paralyzed from the neck down.

Potential Injuries From Evenflo Big Kid Booster Seat

Some of the injuries that could be experienced in a side-impact collision include the following:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal decapitation
  • Death

Questions About an Evenflo Booster Seat Lawsuit? Contact a Johnson//Becker Lawyer For a Free Case Review.

The death or injury of a child is a horrifying, traumatic experience. That is why the manufacturers of products that fail must be held accountable.

If you or a loved one have been in an accident where the child in a booster seat was seriously injured or killed, you should speak with the lawyers at Johnson//Becker.

We offer a Free Case Evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386.

We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.

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