Child car seat manufacturer Evenflo has agreed to issue a defective product recall for 202,000 rear-facing infant car seats over concern that a faulty buckle could make it difficult or impossible to quickly remove a child from the seat in an emergency.
According to a news report in The New York Times, the recalled seat is the Embrace 35, which Evenflo said was manufactured at various times from December 2011 through May 2013.
The defective buckle was made by AmSafe Commercial Products and was used by Evenflo and one of its competitors, Graco Children’s Products.
Concern about the buckle’s safety has resulted in nearly six million child safety seats being recalled by Evenflo and Graco.
Feds Demand Recall…and Get It
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating some Graco seats in 2012 after receiving complaints from parents who said they had trouble getting children out of their restraints.
In some cases, parents said they had to use a knife or scissors to cut the strap. This could especially become a serious safety problem if there is a car fire or car accident. The investigation was later expanded to include Evenflo products.
Under a lot of pressure from NHTSA, earlier this year, Graco recalled about 4.2 million forward-facing seats designed for older children. Evenflo recalled nearly 1.4 million seats.
But both companies said they will not recall rear-facing car seats designed for infants arguing that even though the seats had faulty buckles, the rear-facing seats had a different design.
Company officials said that with these seats, even if the buckle was hard to release, the portion of the seat holding the infant can be removed the base and the car in emergency situations. So, they said, there was no “unreasonable risk” to the children’s safety.
The NHTSA refused to accept that argument and continued to demand a recall of the rear-facing seats as well. Evenflo finally decided to do just that Oct. 14.
The Importance of Child Safety Seats
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2011 alone, more than 650 children 12 and younger died as occupants in motor vehicle crashes and more than 148,000 were injured.
Car seat use reduces the risk of death for infants by 71 percent and for toddlers (ages 1 to 4) by 54 percent in passenger vehicles.
In addition booster seat use reduces the risk for serious injury by 45 percent for children between the ages of 4 and 8 compared to seat belt use alone.
Our auto accident attorneys have consistently stressed the importance of using car seats and booster seats for young children. Defective car seats can cause serious injuries to children because they do not perform how they should in the event of a crash.
In this particular case, the car seats cannot be removed by a parent or a caregiver in case the car catches fire or if the child must be removed from the vehicle after a crash. We are pleased that NHTSA was able to force a recall of all the car seats with the defective buckles.
Hopefully, this move will save lives and make these crucial products safer for children.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective car seat, please contact the experienced defective product lawyers of Bisnar Chase to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.