Car seats designed for babies and young children help protect our precious cargo from serious injuries in the unfortunate event of an automobile accident. In some cases, however, manufacturing defects of car seats can cause those products to fail, often prompting massive recalls. Some of the most common car seat defects include the following:
– weak shells
– defective handles
– flammable materials
– base/shell separation
– weak construction
– sudden releases
– unanticipated rotation
– buckles or latches that are difficult to release
In 2011, a two year old Los Angeles, California toddler died in a car fire after the buckle became stuck and the baby’s mother was unable to remove her from the seat. The family of the baby brought a wrongful death suit that was later resolved by a confidential settlement. In 2014, Graco Children’s Products recalled nearly 6.1 million car seats after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed numerous instances where the harness buckle was difficult or impossible for consumers to unlatch. As a part of that investigation, Graco agreed to pay a $3 million fine for being too slow to report complaints relating to car seat buckles becoming stuck or difficult to open. The company must also spend $7 million on measures to improve child seat safety, including better programs to register seat owners so that they may be notified of safety problems, as well as improving procedures to identify problems and speed up the recall process.
For more information, or to check the product recall lists, please go to www.safercar.gov.