New investigation reveals need for long-delayed car seat safety standards

Media Contacts
Grace Brombach


PHILADELPHIA — In 2000, Congress directed federal regulators to establish car seat safety standards for the most dangerous type of accidents: side-impact collisions. But nearly two decades later, no such regulations have gone into effect. In the absence of these safety guidelines, companies have been allowed to set their own safety testing procedures.

A ProPublica investigation revealed today the dangers of letting companies do their own tests. It found that EvenFlo, maker of the “Big Kid ” booster seat, marketed its product to children 30 pounds and above, even though children of that weight would not be adequately protected in a side-impact collision. EvenFlo’s marketing of these booster seats contradicted expert advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends that children should sit in full car seats until they weigh at least 40 pounds, or until they no longer fit. 

Grace Brombach, U.S. PIRG Education Fund Consumer Watchdog associate, issued the following statement:

“When it comes to their children, parents expect the strongest possible safety standards across the board. Federal safety regulators have had nearly 20 years to implement testing standards for car seats that protect kids from side-impact collisions. It’s clear, based on this new investigation, that allowing manufacturers to set their own tests puts kids’ safety at risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs to establish national testing standards for side impact crashes, just like it did years ago for front impacts.

“Companies need to take responsibility as well. Their claims of safety need to be based on facts, and put kids’ health first. If manufacturers notice a problem with their product or adjust their safety recommendations to match expert advice, they need to directly notify parents of those changes and make sure they are immediately aware of any risk.” 


U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful interests that threaten our health, safety, and wellbeing. U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Education Fund is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, ands a strategic approach to getting things done.