Side Crash Test Videos Prompt Safety Concerns Over Some Booster Seats

by Madison Vanderberg
Originally Published: 
Side Crash Test Videos Prompt Safety Concerns Over Some Booster Seats: Child crash test dummy being ...
CBS This Morning/Youtube

Recently unearthed Evenflo booster seat crash test footage shows potential “horrific” injuries

A popular kid’s car seat is under scrutiny after the booster seat crash test footage leaked, showing a dummy being thrown about the car during a side-impact crash test. ProPublica investigated the Evenflo Big Kids Booster Seat for older kids and found that the crash test process was seriously misleading.

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The crash test video shows what would happen to a child in the booster seat if the car was hit from the side. The video shows a dummy thrown about the car and enduring multiple serious injuries. ProPublica showed the video to Dr. Ben Hoffman, an author of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement on car seats, who concluded that the accident seen in the footage could lead to serious injuries, including death.

“This looks horrific, and I can’t imagine it being in any way shape or form better under real life circumstances,” Hoffman said.

Despite being described as “horrific,” the seemingly fatal crash test seen in the below video was was given a passing grade by Evenflo. ProPublica says that the passing grade is decided by Evenflo engineers and does not need to meet outside scrutiny. The only way to “fail” the crash test is if the dummy is thrown out of the seat or if the seat itself breaks into pieces. Eric Dahle, the top Evenflo booster seat engineer, said in a 2016 deposition that the traumatic activity seen in the video could lead to “serious injuries” and former Evenflo engineer David Sanders point-blank said that “we side-impact test our seats, but I don’t think we say that we offer any type of side-impact protection.”

Seen below, the Evenflo Big Kids Booster Seat only features a shoulder strap, though the Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids stay in a car seat with full harness restraints until they are at least 40 pounds. In the case of the Evenflo booster, the product was occasionally marketed for children over 30 pounds and occasionally for children over 40 pounds.

CBS This Morning recalled the story of 5-year-old Jillian Brown from Long Island who was left paralyzed from the neck down after a 2016 car accident when she was riding in the Evenflo Booster Seat. Her sister was in the car too in a different car seat and recovered from her injuries.

“I would never have bought that if I’d known. I would’ve left them in the front facing five-point harness for years,” Jillian’s father Jay Brown told CBS. “You know, you read it and believe it.”

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