Shocking Report Says These Booster Seats Could Be Fatal in a Crash

Here’s what parents need to know.

By: Amanda Mushro

Choosing a car seat or booster seat for your child is no easy task. When searching for the best option for their little one, parents are led to believe that no matter which brand of seat they choose, the company will have performed rigorous testing to ensure all safety measures have been met. However, a startling new report says a popular booster seat from the company Evenflo failed to meet safety standards and the brand continued to sell seats despite knowing this.

Investigative journalists from ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom, released a report that says Evenflo’s Big Kid Booster is marketed to children above 30 pounds or more, but crash test data shows children this small are not protected when it comes to side-impact collisions.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children stay in a five-point-harness car seat until they outgrow them. For some car seats, this can be up to 65 pounds or more. The AAP says that at minimum, kids should be kept in a five-point-harness until they are at least 40 pounds.

ProPublica obtained video of crash tests that shows how dangerous the Evenflo’s Big Kids Booster would be in a side-impact collision. The videos, which can be hard to watch, show a child-size dummy buckled into the Evenflo booster seat. When a crash is simulated, the dummy remains in the seat, but it is forcibly tossed sideways and out of their seatbelt shoulder strap in a manner that experts say could cause serious neck, spine or head injuries.

What’s even more disturbing than the video, is an engineer from Evenflo raising red flags about the safety of the booster seats back in 2012 and again in 2019.

“Evenflo’s top car seat engineer admitted in a 2019 deposition that if real children’s bodies moved that way, they could suffer catastrophic injuries or die,” ProPublica wrote in their report. “Yet, Evenflo gave each of those tests passing grades.”

“Our investigation spanned over a year, and required combing through hundreds of pages of legal filings, internal corporate documents and videos, dozens of hours of depositions, and hundreds of hours of interviews with car safety experts, customers and victims," ProPublica editor Jesse Eisinger told ABC News.

Now, the government has stepped in and a House subcommittee announced they will be launching a probe into Evenflo’s booster seat safety issues. However, Evenflo maintains that their booster seats meet safety requirements.

So, what should you do if you have one of the Big Kid booster seats? Experts suggest checking your child’s weight and, if they are under 40 pounds, keeping them in a seat with a five-point-harness instead.

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