Gerry Baby Products Co.
1500 E. 128th Avenue
Thornton, CO 80241
Dear Mr. Hart:
This responds to your letter concerning your company's plans for manufacturing a new type of child restraint system, model #632. The new child restraint system has a removable five-point belt system. You state that, "When the [5-point] restraint is removed, it is a booster seat according to the definition in FMVSS 213." You explain that Gerry is developing the final name for the product from among a list of nine possible names, and you want to make sure that none of the names would violate any provision of Standard No. 213, "Child Restraint Systems."
As a general matter, Standard No. 213 has no restriction on how a child restraint system can be named. The standard defines several types of child restraint systems, such as "booster seat," "backless child restraint system," and "belt-positioning seat." (Section S4 of Standard No. 213.) These definitions are used to determine which of Standard No. 213's performance and test requirements apply to a particular seat. For example, if a child seat fits the definition of a backless child restraint system, then the seat must meet the performance and labeling requirements for backless child restraints, when tested to the test specifications set forth in the standard for backless child restraints.
Thus, the definitions in Standard No. 213 determine the applicability of particular performance and test requirements. Manufacturers are not required to name their restraints using the terminology provided in the standard. However, if a child seat fits the definition for a particular type of child seat under S4 of Standard No. 213, the seat will be evaluated to the criteria for that type of child seat, regardless of the name the manufacturer has given the seat.
While Standard No. 213 does not expressly restrict how you name your product, you should consider the following when making your decision. Three names on your list refer to model #632 as a "convertible" child seat ("convertible car seat," "convertible/booster," "convertible toddler seat"). Standard No. 213 does not define what is a "convertible" child seat. However, the term has long been used in the child passenger safety community to refer to a child restraint system that can be used rear-facing for infants and forward- facing for older children. We are concerned that calling model #632 a "convertible" seat could possibly confuse consumers about its suitability for infants, which may result in some consumers using the restraint with an infant. With that possibility in mind, we suggest you avoid using the term "convertible" in naming the model #632 car seat.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please contact Deirdre Fujita of my staff at (202) 366-2992.
Philip R. Recht Chief Counsel d:1/4/95 ref:213