CARU Refers Sreet Surfing To FTC After Company Declines To Modify Website Depict Proper Safety Equipement

New York – Oct. 25, 2011 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus has referred Street Surfing LLC, the maker of the  “Whiplash Scooter” to the Federal Trade Commission, after the company declined to modify its website to depict the use of appropriate safety gear.

The website, www.streetsurfing.com, came to CARU’s attention through CARU routine monitoring of advertising directed to children.

The Whiplash product is similar in appearance to a skateboard, but designed with a pivoting deck. The website includes videos of children and teens using the Whiplash while wearing helmets, but no other safety gear. The site also features user-generated videos of young riders without safety gear.

CARU questioned whether the advertising at issue depicted appropriate use of safety equipment. CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising includes guidelines on “Unsafe and Inappropriate Advertising to Children,” which state in part that “proper precautions and safety equipment” should be depicted in advertising that shows physical activities.

In response to CARU’s inquiry, Street Surfing stated that in order to demonstrate its dedication to the protection of children it would add an online disclosure stating that “children should always wear protective gear.”

CARU, however, recommended that Street Surfing remove from the website depictions of riders using the Whiplash without the proper safety gear, a step the advertiser declined to take.

The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that the “usage and behavior we represent on our website and in our marketing always depicts the usage of a helmet and will continue to do so. With this stated, we will not be implementing any changes to the website and consider our marketing and promotion to be completely compliant with all safety regulations and within the context of the actions taken by the category leaders.”

Pursuant to CARU’s policies and procedures, the advertising at issue has been referred to the FTC for further review.