Challenged in this Steven Levitt keynote is the idea that car seats for children over the age of two are necessary. The author of the critically acclaimed book 'Freakonomics' uses a wide range of research and data to demonstrate how car seats, contrary to popular belief of parents and the Federal government in the United States, can actually put children at a greater risk.
As Levitt explains, for a car seat to be manufactured and sold, it must pass a federal test, which ensures that certain criteria has been met. These seats however, have been optimized to pass a test that doesn't account for multiple types of accidents and crashes that can occur. As he demonstrates, the standard car seat in America today is optimized for an accident during which a car crashes into the vehicle in front of it, but not an accident that involves being hit from behind.
While car seats are not something every individual purchases as some point in his or her life, Levitt's speech hones in on the fact that industries and corporations aren't always looking out for the best interests and well-being of their consumers.