Based on report published by ProPublica about the safety of belt-positioning booster seats sold by Evenflo and other companies, there is need to consider the American Academy of Pediatric’s guidelines for car seat safety.
Always follow the American Academy of Pediatric’s guidelines for car seat safety first since the manufacturer’s recommendation for height and weight minimums may not be as safe as they claim.
At the crux of the issue is whether Evenflo’s Big Kid booster seat is safe for children who weigh as little as just 30 pounds, which is the minimum requirement it was advertising as safe, at least until very recently. But Evenflo’s own side-impact test footage, obtained by ProPublica, illustrates how a child could experience severe head, neck or spinal injuries—or die—in such a crash.
Parents may assume that because the seats have been tested and because they meet federal safety standards, it’s always safe to follow the manufacturer’s recommended height and weight guidelines. But although the seats do technically meet federal safety guidelines, that may only be because there currently are no such standards to test the seats for their effectiveness in side-impact vehicle crashes.
That’s why, rather than following height and weight guidelines outlined by the car seat’s manufacturer, parents are better off following the AAP’s guidelines, which are thorough and updated regularly. ProPublica explains:
According to AAP, booster seats are for older children who have outgrown their forward-facing seats. Although booster seats are easier to install and transfer from vehicle to vehicle, it is best to keep kids in harnessed seats as long as possible.
Note: ProPublica reports that after its inquiries into the safety concerns for kids as small as 30 pounds, Evenflo changed the weight minimum on its website to 40 pounds. So they ordered another car seat from the company’s website and found that the seat’s box, manual and label still say the seat has a 30-pound minimum.
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