Required by law in every state, child restraint systems are intended to protect children from injury or death during vehicle collisions. In Georgia, children under 8 years old must ride in an approved safety seat or booster seat that is suited for their height and weight, and it is recommended that children under the age of one be secured in a rear-facing infant seat. There are a huge variety of models available, which should all be harmless by design, yet defects cause millions to be recalled every year.
Aprica, Argos, Classic Ride, Comfort Sport, Cozy Cline, Head Wise, My Ride, Nautilus, Ready Ride, SafeSeat, Size4Me, Smart Seat, SnugRide, and Teutonia Model Car Seats.
The largest car seat recall so far in the US occurred this year when well-known seat manufacturer Graco recalled 4.2 million toddler car seats in February and then an additional 1.9 million infant car seats in July. Made between 2006 and 2014, the models recalled featured a harness buckle that was prone to getting stuck. Consumers complained that food and drink easily got into the buckles, rendering them increasingly difficult to use and even jamming in the closed position.
Although the buckles did not cause the seats to be a risk for crash protection, they did present an extraction hazard. If a child could not be quickly removed from a car seat following an emergency, the risk of injury was likely higher. Graco initially maintained that the affected infant car seat models did not need to be recalled because the fastest way to remove a baby from a post-crash environment was to just detach the removable carrier from the base. Under pressure by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Graco investigated further and found a higher than typical level of difficultly in unlatching the infant seat belt buckles, thus leading to the second recall.
You can use this to see if your family’s infant or toddler car seat is affected by the recall. To request a free repair kit, call (800) 345-4109 (Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST). You can also use the online order form, which allows you to order multiple buckles for up to three different models. Free repair kits are available, but shipping can take 6 to 8 weeks.
The NHTSA is now investigating whether Graco acted quickly enough in reporting the stuck car seat buckles. Federal law states that once a manufacturer becomes aware of a safety-related defect in an item of motor vehicle equipment, it has up to five days to notify the NHTSA. If it is determined that Graco did not act promptly, the manufacturer could be facing up to $35 million in civil penalties.
If you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at The Mann Law Firm. We are ready to provide you with a free and confidential initial consultation. Contact us by calling (478) 742-3381 in Macon, Dublin, Warner Robbins or Milledgeville, or through our online form.