Combi USA has been issued a child car seats recall on about 33,000 units because federal officials say the restraining straps could break in the event of a crash. According to a report in The New York Times, the recall comes after the safety agency rejected Combi’s request that it be “excused from the recall” because the failure to meet the federal safety standard was “inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.” Included in this recall are Model 8220 Coccoro seats manufactured from January 2009 to December 2012; Model 8815 Zeus Turn seats built from July 2007 to March 2009 and Model 8336 Zeus 360 seats built from February 2009 to May 2012.
Evidence of Strap Failures
The Times reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) detected strap failures in the child car seats during a spot check test in 2012 to see if they met the minimum safety standards.
After the straps failed during testing, the agency contacted Combi about issuing a recall. The manufacturer then filed a petition with the agency requesting that the seats be exempted from the recall. Company officials argued in the petition that they had received no reports of strap failure and that their own internal testing had shown that the straps were strong enough that “under no circumstances” would there be a failure in a real-world crash.
Children and Car Accidents
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States during 2010, more than 1,200 children ages 14 years or younger died as occupants in car crashes and about 171,000 were injured. While studies have found that child safety seats reduce the risk of death in passenger cars by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, another study found that 72 percent of nearly 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.
Defective Child Safety Seats
There is no question that the best practice is to place your child in a safety seat. Any child safety seat is better than no safety seat at all. However, manufacturers of defective child seats can be held liable for the injuries and damages they cause. In such cases, injured victims or their families can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the safety seat. Injured victims can seek damages including medical expenses, hospitalization, permanent injuries and pain and suffering. An experienced product liability lawyer will be able to advise victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.