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Products Liability Blog Post

Child Car Seats: When Buckling Up Is Hazardous

A child car seat is intended to increase safety for young family members when traveling by car. What happens when the restraint traps your child?

In January of this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) detailed problems with the buckling mechanisms on 11 car seat models in a letter to Graco Children’s Products.

In its letter, the NHTSA noted issues that included the following:

  • The NHTSA Office of Defect Investigations (ODI) found the buckle on several Graco car seat models was difficult or impossible to unlatch.
  • Instances were noted where parents had to cut the straps of the car seat to remove their children, completely loosen the straps, remove the car seat from the vehicle or call emergency responders to free their children.
  • Graco was named in a wrongful death action filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. A two-year-old girl died in a car fire following an accident.
  • Graco received more than 6,000 complaints about the buckling mechanism on the car seats.

In February, Graco Children’s Products recalled almost 4 million car seats because of the problems with the buckle on the seats. On its website, Graco explains that spilled food and dried liquids make the buckle progressively more difficult to operate. Disturbingly, Graco also notes no injuries were reported, despite confidentially settling the California wrongful death lawsuit.

The NHTSA continues to investigate similar claims on other car seats, including Evenflo. Review recall documents if you have a Graco car seat. If your child is injured by a defective product, speak with an experienced injury attorney in Southern California.

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Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire
2550 Fifth Avenue, 11th Floor
San Diego, California, 92103-6612 USA