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Congressional report raises booster seat safety concerns

| Mar 5, 2021 | Car Accidents |

Child booster seats on sale in California and around the country are marketed as being suitable for children weighing 30 pounds, but a report released on December 10 by the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy reveals that manufacturers base this claim on meaningless crash tests that in no way reflect real-world driving conditions. The reports also criticizes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for ignoring repeated calls to introduce tougher testing standards.

Documents, photographs and videos

The committee members reached their conclusions after studying documents from booster seat manufacturers and photographs and videos of booster seat crash tests. The manufacturers set their own testing standards and awarded themselves passing grades if a dummy was not ejected during side-impact testing. The lawmakers determined that using the occupant retention standard misleads consumers. They also concluded that a child weighing less than 40 pounds in a booster seat would suffer serious injuries in a side-impact.

NHTSA inaction

In March 2020, the committee chairman asked the NHTSA to increase the minimum recommended weight for booster seats from 30 to 40 pounds, establish a federal standard for booster seat crash tests and require manufacturers to place warning labels on their products. In a private briefing held nine months later, an NHTSA representative admitted that the agency has been slow to respond to booster seat safety concerns and suggested that manufacturers could address the issue without regulatory intervention.

Car accident injuries

Experienced personal injury attorneys usually file car accident lawsuits against reckless motorists and auto insurance companies, but they may initiate litigation against manufacturers or local authorities when their clients suffered harm in a crash because of a defective product or poorly maintained road. When pursuing this kind of legal action, attorneys could use safety investigation reports like this one to establish negligence.

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