Within months of one another two major child car seat manufacturers Graco Children's Products, Inc. ("Graco") and Evenflo Inc. ("Evenflo"), voluntarily recalled millions of defective buckles due to similar safety concerns. In Pennsylvania and New Jersey a child must be securely strapped into a federally approved child car seat, which meets certain safety requirements. The inability to unlatch a child, especially in the worst-case scenario, such as a car emergency that requires a quick release can potentially endanger both the child and the driver. Select Evenflo convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats sold during 2011-2014, approximately 1.4 million buckles may be impacted according to the April 3, 2014 child seat recall report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Evenflo stresses that their car seats still meets the federal FMVSS 213 safety standard for crashworthiness, and that only the crotch buckle requires replacement which can be submitted for free on their website. The car seat and booster seats can remain in use while awaiting the free replacement. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") vehicle crashes is the leading cause of serious injury, debilitation, and death for children between the ages of one and thirteen. If your child or family member was injured by a defective car seat you may be entitled to financial compensation for the injuries caused by the defective product. At the law firm of Rosenbaum and Associates the personal injury and products liability specialists have over 25 years experience successfully representing thousands of injured clients throughout the New Jersey and Pennsylvania region, call today for a free case evaluation.
When a manufacturer, supplier, distributor, and even possibly a retailer of a child safety seat sells a defective product knowingly, which causes the child serious injury multiple parties may be held responsible. Anyone who has ever cared for or witnessed childcare knows that it is a messy endeavor. Both Graco and Evenflo car seats suffered from similar design flaws, stuck buckles after prolonged use. Multiple models were under investigation by NHTSA, as buckles with an excess accumulation of dirt, debris, and sticky grime, in the crotch buckle or harness, potentially caused the buckle to jam trapping the child in the car seat. Here, both Graco and Evenflo have acted responsibly and in compliance with the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance, which tests and regulates equipment to ensure that the applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards are met. Graco in February announced a recall of nearly 3.8 million toddler and booster seats, which suffered the same buckle flaw as Evenflo. Yet, the February NHTSA recall report alleges that the Graco rear-facing infant car seats, making up an additional 1.8 million units should also be included in the Graco recall as the infant car seats use the same recalled buckle, and therefore is equally susceptible to the same design flaw. Graco insisted that the use differs as a "unique design" in that the base and the infant car seat can detach at the base for a quick release. Thus far though, only toddler and booster seats are listed on Graco's recall website. For those who use Graco infant car seats and are beginning to experience similar buckle difficulties according to the Graco baby blog, a free replacement buckle is also available. While many customers have taken to the companies' Facebook page to express their concerns and frustrations, thus far no injuries have been reportedly linked to either car seat manufacturer.