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Graco Car Seats Recalled Over Defective Buckle

Almost 3.8 million car seats have been recalled by Graco Children’s Products due to faulty buckles that make it hard to free a child in an emergency.

However, federal safety regulators said the product recall did not go far enough and have asked for an additional 1.8 million seats to be included because they use the same buckle.

The recall, the largest in five years, includes 2009 to 2013 models of the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite and Argos 70.

At FDBR, we know product design defects, manufacturing defects and improper warnings or instructions can cause serious injuries to innocent consumers.

The additional car seats that the agency wants recalled include rear-facing models used for infants. However, Graco has insisted that those seats do not need to be recalled.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administraion told Graco that unless these additional seats were fixed it would take legal action to force a recall.

The investigation into the faulty seats began in 2012 after parents began complaining that they had to cut the straps to remove their children. One parent told the safety agency it ook 45 minutes to free her toddler.

Graco told regualtors that the problems with the buckles stemmed from contamination from food or dried liquids. However, investigators said that explanation was “completely forseeable” and not an excuse.

While Graco is not aware of any injuries due to the problem with the buckles, the N.H.T.S.A said in a letter to the company that it is a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit in California over the death of a 2-year-old child who was killed in a car fire following an auto accident. The child was seated in a Graco Nautilus car seat.

This car seat recall may expand well beyond Graco, as the safety agency began investigating similar complaints about child seats made by Evenflo Company.

Our defective product lawyers pioneered consumer rights in Florida, establishing the legal ability of consumers and bystanders injured by defective products to hold the manufacturer or seller of such products liable without proof of negligence. InWest v. Caterpillar, the Florida Supreme Court recognized the doctrine of Strict Product Liability in Florida. This 1975 decision permanently changed the law in Florida in favor of persons injured by unsafe products and is studied in Florida’s law schools.

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Source: The New York Times, “Graco Recalls Car Seats Over Faulty Buckle,” Feb. 11, 2014.

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