Many parents are diligent about restraining their children in age- appropriate car seats. However, defective car seats or booster seats may not prevent injuries and could actually be hazardous. Recently, Graco announced a recall of nearly 3.8 million car safety seats because of a possible entrapment hazard.
According to the company, a defect may prevent the buckles in the seats from unlatching. In such cases, a parent may not be able to remove a child from the car seat. This can be dangerous in an emergency, like a fire or accident, when it is important to quickly extricate a child from the car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been investigating the safety of these car seats.
The NHTSA and Graco have been in negotiations over whether the company should expand the recall to include rear-facing infant seats for a similar problem. The company insists that there is no need for a recall of the infant seats because the seats can be removed from their base if necessary.
The federal agency is concerned that Graco does not seem to be taking the problem seriously enough. Soon after the defect came to light, Graco emailed a statement to the media, saying that there are possibly other problems that could cause the latch to become difficult to open over time.
According to the company, the presence of food and dried liquids can make the harness buckles difficult to open or cause the buckles to become stuck, making it hard to extricate a child. The NHTSA believes that the company understates the injury risk involved.
The agency is also looking at car seats manufactured by other companies that could have similar problems because they integrate the same design as the Graco seats. According to the agency, it has begun investigations of at least four models of Evenflo child safety seats. The buckles were manufactured by the same company that made the Graco seat buckles.
It is not enough to restrain your child in a car safety seat or booster seat. It is also important to sign up for consumer recall alerts issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for alerts about defective car seats.
Manufacturers of defective products can be held accountable for any injuries that their products cause.
Source: USA Today