On February 6, 2020, ProPublica published a report entitled Evenflo, Maker of the “Big Kid” Booster Seat, Put Profits Over Child Safety.
As a result of this report, Sarraf Gentile LLP is investigating claims on behalf of consumers who purchased an Evenflo “Big Kid” booster seat.
If you purchased such a product, contact us for a free and confidential legal consultation. Attorney Joseph Gentile (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 212-868-3610 x12) would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
In its report, ProPublica cites previously confidential material and purported how Evenflo may have known that its bestselling booster seat left children vulnerable to severe injury or death in side impact crashes. According to ProPublica’s report:
ProPublica obtained multiple years of Evenflo’s side-impact test videos, thousands of pages of sworn depositions of company employees and marketing materials that laid out the business objectives for the Big Kid that, until now, had mostly been shielded by secrecy orders in court cases around the country. These records provide a rare window into one company’s marketing and safety decisions.
Based on this investigation, ProPublica reported that the company may have put children at risk with how it marketed its “Big Kid” booster seat. According to ProPublica:
In February 2012, a safety engineer at Evenflo, one of the biggest sellers of children’s booster seats, wanted the company to make a major change to its instructions for parents. He recommended Evenflo stop selling booster seats for children who weigh less than 40 pounds.
Citing government research, the engineer, Eric Dahle, emailed high-ranking executives 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. Making the change would match Canadian regulations and better align with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
A marketing executive “vetoed” Dahle’s safety recommendation, an internal Evenflo record shows. Later that year, the subject came up again. The same executive, who had been promoted to vice president of marketing and product development, expressed his exasperation. “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’s decision to keep the weight recommendation for its Big Kid booster low in the U.S. was emblematic of how the company — locked in a marketing battle with its biggest competitor — has repeatedly made decisions that resulted in putting children at risk. Not only did it sell its seats for children under 40 pounds, but Evenflo touted its Big Kid boosters as “SIDE IMPACT TESTED” without revealing that its own tests showed a child seated in its booster could be in grave danger in such a crash.
Sarraf Gentile LLP is now investigating claims on behalf of consumers who purchased an Evenflo “Big Kid” booster seat. Specifically, the firm is investigating whether Evenflo advertised its booster seats in a way that violated federal or state consumer protection statutes. Such consumer claims may be brought as a class action. Sarraf Gentile LLP has litigated class actions across the United States and has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of injured consumers. Some of the cases in which the firm has prevailed can be viewed here.
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