(The New York Times: Published 07/01/2014, Jensen, Christopher, Web)
Under pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Graco Children’s Products has agreed to recall about 1.9 million rear-facing infant seats with a faulty buckle that can make it difficult to free a child during an emergency.
In February and March, Graco said it would recall about 4.2 million forward-facing child seats — designed for older children — with the same buckle. But Graco told federal regulators it did not want to recall the 1.9 million rear-facing infant seats because even if the buckle was hard to release, the seat was of a different design: The portion of the seat holding the child could be detached from its base and quickly lifted from the vehicle, while the base would remain anchored to the vehicle’s seat. NHTSA pushed Graco, saying that “the hazards and risks involved in the delay of extricating a child from a rear-facing infant car seat in any emergency situation are significantly increased and rise to the level of unreasonable risk when the harness buckle is difficult to open or is stuck in a latched condition.”
Another child-seat manufacturer, the Evenflo Company, which used the same buckle, also balked at recalling about 1.4 million rear-facing infant seats, citing the same reasons as Graco. Evenflo “maintains its position that a recall is not warranted,” Jennifer Teitler, a spokeswoman for the company wrote in an email. But the safety agency issued a statement that it would continue to “push” Evenflo “to take action and address the safety risk.”
Graco decided to recall the additional seats after further investigation revealed “a higher than typical level of difficulty” in unlatching the buckle, according to a report from Graco posted Tuesday on the NHTSA’s website. The repair for all the seats involves replacing the defective buckle, which Graco will provide free to customers.
The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of automobile drivers and passengers in Berks County and Schuylkill County and serve accident victims and their families in Reading, PA, Pottsville, PA, and throughout Eastern and Central, Pennsylvania.
From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire.