Weitz & Luxenberg filed a class action lawsuit against Chicco USA, Inc., because some of its children’s car seats contain PFAS and harmful flame retardants. Anyone who purchased a model containing the toxic chemicals is invited to join the lawsuit.
The class action complaint was filed on July 1, 2022. It states Chicco fails to inform consumers some of its most popular child restraint systems contain dangerously high levels of chemicals. This includes per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and flame retardant in the upholstery of its top-selling car seat, the KeyFit 30.
Hides Amount of PFAS in Car Seats
The manufacturer has concealed information about PFAS being used in their car seats from the public. This is despite the company knowing consumers need this information to make an informed decision before purchasing these products.
PFAS chemicals are applied to products to make them waterproof and stain repellant. Unfortunately, the chemicals can leach out from fabric. This means children who sit in car seats, typically for significant periods of time, are at high risk of exposure.
Our lawsuit alleges clients paid more for — and perhaps even sought out — these particular car seats thinking they were among the safest and most reliable on the market. Chicco failed to disclose vital information about the hazardous PFAS chemicals, among others, in its products.
Misleads Customers About PFAS
Our complaint emphasizes Chicco didn’t just sell and distribute its children’s car seats containing known hazardous chemicals — it outright misled consumers. Through its marketing and advertising efforts, Chicco promotes itself as caring about the quality of its children’s restraint systems, assuring consumers its products are safe.
The corporation makes no mention of the PFAS and other toxic chemicals used in its products and it even tells consumers that it does not add PFAS to the product, providing a false sense of security. Chicco does not disclose that PFAS already exists in the materials used. There is also the question of whether it actually does add PFAS to the car seats.
Uses Dangerous Chemicals
“Chicco does not provide coherent, publicly available information regarding the use of … toxic chemicals in its car seats because it knows that consumers would not purchase its products or if they would purchase, they would pay substantially less for them.”
Chicco takes its deception one step further, assuring consumers Chicco “performs extensive chemical testing” on all of its products.
For example, the company claims it uses dangerous flame retardants only in compliance with federal flammability standards. What the company doesn’t tell consumers is that it uses them because it is considerably cheaper than using natural fibers. Natural fibers would be more expensive and also satisfy the federal flammability standard.
What Are the Hazardous Chemicals in Child Car Seats?
PFAS are human-made chemicals. They have been around for several decades. PFAS are also called “forever chemicals” because they can last for thousands of years. Manufacturers often use them to make products water- and stainproof as well as grease resistant. These toxic chemicals are linked to a variety of significant medical problems, including cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and decreased immunity.
Flame retardants are generally phosphorus- and bromine-containing chemicals. These chemicals are often used with plastics and textiles, as well as in surface finishes and coatings. The chemicals can lead to developmental disorders, cancer, endocrine disruption, diabetes, and other serious medical concerns.
Product Safety for Children
Parents, guardians, and other caretakers go to great lengths to protect their children. They do this partly by buying the safest and healthiest products for their babies, infants, and toddlers. They choose carefully, whether purchasing diapers, clothes, mattresses, or car seats.
“No parent ever wants to discover after carefully selecting products for their child’s safety and well-being that their child was exposed to toxic chemicals,” says W&L partner James Bilsborrow. “Particularly with children, the illnesses they could develop during their lifetime could be unusually severe and distressing.”
Mr. Bilsborrow emphasizes, “PFAS have the potential to injure a child’s young, still-developing body in ways we cannot begin to imagine. Young children are particularly vulnerable.”
Car Seats Are Multibillion Dollar Industry
Car seat manufacturing is big business, raking in billions of dollars a year. It had an estimated value of roughly $4.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to climb to more than $7 billion over the next few years.
Multiple manufacturers aggressively compete against each other. Currently, approximately 40 car seat models are available from eight companies — including Chicco. They are all vying for customers.
Chicco has expanded into a global brand since it was founded more than 60 years ago in Italy. It is involved in marketing and distributing many products in almost 120 countries.
And Chicco is among the top-selling manufacturers of car seats, including booster seats. The company distributes and sells in the United States and globally through its parent corporation.
Let’s just say Chicco makes a whole lot of money getting consumers to buy its potentially hazardous children’s car seats. And it does that by touting their safety.
W&L Helps Clients Harmed by Dangerous Products
W&L attorneys have been awarded more than $19 billion in wins through settlements and jury verdicts for our clients. Some of our clients exposed to dangerous chemicals may be entitled to multiple settlements, depending upon their exposure experience.
If you purchased a Chicco car seat containing toxic chemicals, contact us to find out if you can join our class action lawsuit. You can reach out by phone or by using our online form.