Car Seat Recall: Defective Buckle May Lead to Child Injury, Death

babyhand3.jpgThere are few products that parents use more or place greater trust in than child car seats.

These restraint systems save hundreds of thousands of lives annually, and according to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have helped to reduced child motor vehicle fatalities by 43 percent just in the last decade.

However, when child car seats are defective or flawed, our product liability attorneys know the result may be serious injury or even death.

Recently, car seat manufacturer Graco agreed to recall some 3.7 million car seats manufactured in the past several years due to a buckling issue. The company has so far rejected federal regulator requests to recall an additional 2 million seats. A government probe is still ongoing.

While the company had initially attempted to downplay the seriousness of the issue (and was later firmly scolded by regulators), the reality is that the problem could be quite dire.

While there is no indication at this point that the seats will malfunction during a crash, the issue is that there have been reported incidents in which the buckle can become “sticky” and incredibly difficult to unhook.

This has resulted in more than inconveniences. In one case, it was reportedly the cause of a child’s death.

A lawsuit filed in California stemmed from an August 2011 incident in which a 2-year-old girl died in a car fire, following a crash, when her mother and a bystander were unable to get her out of the car seat in time. The bystander reportedly had to be treated at a local hospital for cuts he sustained to his arm while trying unsuccessfully to free the child.

An investigation by the National Highway Product Safety Administration found that the defective buckle was to blame. What’s more, both the company had received hundreds of thousands of complaints of similar issues leading up to that incident. The NHTSA received several hundred.

One woman reported she wrestled with her child’s car seat for 45 minutes to get him out before she finally resorted to cutting the strap. In other instances, emergency crews were called to extract children who were trapped in their seats. Personnel with these agencies also reported great difficulty in getting the children out.

Seats that are currently under the recall include:

  • Toddler Convertible Car Seats;
  • Cozy Cline;
  • Comfort Sport;
  • Classic Ride 50;
  • My Ride 65;
  • My Ride 70;
  • Size4Me 70;
  • My Size 70;
  • Head Wise 70;
  • Smart Seat;
  • harnessed Booster Seat;
  • Nautilus 3-in-1;
  • Nautilus Elite;
  • Argos.

There are a total of seven models that are involved in the dispute between the company and federal regulators regarding expansion of the recall.

Free replacement buckles are being offered by the company.

It’s important to know that even when a company initiates a recall on a defective or dangerous product, it does not free that company of liability for injury that may ensue as a result of the defect moving forward.

The Ferraro Law Firm handles product liability claims stemming from defective car seats. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources:
LA Toddler Died in Graco Car Seat Now Being Recalled, Feb. 12, 2014, By Steven Covelman, NBC-4, Southern California

More Blog Entries:
New Safety Standards Announced for Bassinets and Cradles, Nov. 20, 2013, Product Liability Lawyer Blog

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