Jacksonville Couple Sues Ohio-Based Car Seat Maker After Infant Suffers Spinal Injury

Sep 20, 2016

Evenflo's Big Kid Booster Seat.
Credit Evenflo

A Jacksonville couple is suing the manufacturer of a car booster seat they say didn’t protect their daughter. She sustained severe spinal injuries in a car accident in Duval County two years ago.

After appearing in federal court Tuesday, the family’s lawyer Adam Langino said car-seat maker Evenflo is advertising its Big Kid booster seats for children who are too small to ride in them safely.

 

“Companies like EvenFlo advertise booster seats as appropriate for children that weigh as little as 30 pounds,” Langino said. “We believe that is against the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the federal government and needlessly puts kids at risk, particularly smaller kids, that would be better fit by five-point harness seats.”

 

A five-point car seat uses an X-strap harness over both shoulders and around the waist to secure children like a rollercoaster ride, whereas the company’s Big Kid Booster uses the vehicle’s seat belt to hold children into an open-style booster seat.

 

The suit isn’t the first controversy Evenflo has weathered. It recently recalled a different line of safety seats because children could easily unlatch the harness, our news partner News4Jax reported. And the company was ordered to pay a California family $8 million this year when a jury determined its mattress pad suffocated their baby. Evenflo stood by its design and claimed no responsibility.

 

Evenflo is also fighting a similar charge in Texas where the father of a now paralyzed daughter said the Big Kid seat was falsely advertised as safe for smaller children.

 

Lawyers representing Evenflo declined to comment on the ongoing case. The trial is set for next August, but could be pushed back further.

The collision captured by a traffic camera occurs at 1:15.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter@RyanMichaelBenk