Subcommittee Requests Additional Investigations into Booster Seat Safety Following Report Detailing How American Consumers Were Misled

Dec 11, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Dec. 11, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, and Subcommittee Member Katie Porter sent letters to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the National Association of Attorneys General, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) formally requesting that they open investigations into unfair and deceptive marketing of children’s car seats and booster seats as detailed.

 

“We urge NHTSA to open an investigation into this matter and appropriately exercise its ‘broad enforcement authority under existing statutes and regulations to address existing and emerging automotive technologies.’  We have previously addressed NHTSA’s failure to require appropriate booster seat labeling recommendations and side-impact testing through rulemaking.  Due to this regulatory lapse, we believe that NHTSA must now rein in manufacturer’s misconduct through its other enforcement tools,” wrote the Members. 

 

Today’s letters follow release of the Subcommittee’s staff report outlining the findings of the nearly one-year long investigation.  The Subcommittee’s investigation uncovered:

 

  • The nation’s top booster seat manufacturers have marketed use for 30-pound children, despite knowing that boosters are unsafe for children under 40 pounds;

 

  • Manufacturers’ safety claims are meaningless because they have created their own weak side impact testing conditions that involve no impact, and made standards so low that they pass every time—even when crashes would lead to catastrophic injuries; and

 

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s failure to regulate enables these booster seat companies to mislead consumers about side-impact safety testing and get away with making unfair and deceptive size and weight recommendations that are not reasonably safe.

 

The Subcommittee’s investigation forced Evenflo and Graco to stop marketing their booster seats as safe for 30-pound children.  Recent moves by Artsana indicate it may also be following suit in response to this investigation.  However, Baby Trend and KidsEmbrace continue to unsafely market booster seats for 30-pound children.

 

“We believe that this conduct constitutes unfair and deceptive acts and practices in violation of state consumer protection laws enforced by State attorneys general and in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act.  We therefore respectfully urge the bipartisan members of NAAG and FTC to open an investigation into this matter and appropriately exercise its enforcement authority help ensure the safety of children across the United States,” the Members wrote.

 

As the investigation into booster seat safety continues, Chairman Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Porter encourage families to share their personal concerns and experience with booster seats on the Subcommittee’s webpage.

 

Click here to read the letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

Click here to read the letter to National Association of Attorneys General.

 

Click here to read the letter to Federal Trade Commission.

 

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116th Congress