Mr. Randy Kiser
Director of Product Safety, Research & Development
Evenflo Company, Inc.
707 Crossroads Court
Vandalia, OH 45377
Dear Mr. Kiser:
This responds to your letter concerning questions you had about the possibility of Evenflo voluntarily providing child restraint labels in Spanish. You explain that Evenflo currently provides printed instructions in Spanish free of charge upon request, but has not provided bi-lingual labels for the child restraint itself. You are considering changing the latter situation by placing a label in Spanish on your child restraints informing consumers that, upon request, Evenflo will send them Spanish labels for them to adhere to their restraints. The "duplicate set of labels" would fully and accurately translate the information required of the English labels.
You ask whether three "options" related to this initiative comport with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213, Child restraint systems. The first option involves telling consumers to affix the labels next to the English labels. The second option involves instructing consumers to affix the Spanish labels in places where they might not be visible when the child restraint is installed. The third option involves instructing consumers to adhere the Spanish language labels over the English labels.
The requirement under Federal law to manufacture and sell products that meet all applicable FMVSSs does not apply to the sale of a vehicle or item of equipment after the first purchase of the item in good faith other than for resale ("first retail sale"). Your options relate to the modification of child restraints by owners after the first retail sale. Because used child restraints are involved, FMVSS No. 213 generally does not limit where aftermarket labels are affixed.
However, manufacturers are limited in the statements they may make on the labeling of a new child restraint or in the child restraint owners manual. S5.5 of the standard states: "Any labels or written instructions provided in addition to those required by [FMVSS No. 213] shall not obscure or confuse the meaning of the required
information or be otherwise misleading to the consumer. "Affixing Spanish labels over the required English labels obscures the English labeling. We interpret the term "shall not obscure or confuse" in S5.5 as including labels or instructions that result in the obscuring of the required information by the consumer. Accordingly, Evenflo cannot include an instruction in the labeling or instructions to paste the Spanish labels over the English labeling. Obscuring the information could pose problems for second-hand owners who do not understand Spanish.
If you have further questions, please contact Deirdre Fujita of my staff at (202) 366-2992.