Regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have recently announced that they have opened up an investigation regarding how Graco Children’s Products, Inc. (Graco) handled a massive child car seat recall earlier this year. The Graco child car seat recall, which was first issued February and was then expanded in July 2014, ultimately impacted more than 6 million child car seats in the U.S.
Given that this was the largest recall of child car seats in U.S. history, as well as the fact that NHTSA had to put pressure on Graco to move forward with this recall, NHTSA officials now want to know more about whether Graco could have been more timely in:
- Bringing the issue to regulators’ attention
- Informing the public about the defects and risks associated with its car seats
- Issuing a recall of the defective child car seats.
Nature of the Defect: Why the Graco Child Car Seat Recall Was Issued
The problem with the recalled Graco child car seats was related to the buckles on these seats. Specifically, the buckles could become stuck, making it very difficult to get children out of these car seats in emergency situations. Some of the impacted car seats that were part of this recall included Graco’s Argos, Classic Ride, Comfort Sport, My Ride, Nautilus and Smart Seat car seats.
As U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has explained in relation to the NHTSA investigation of the Graco child car seat recall:
The Department is committed to ensuring that parents have peace of mind knowing that the car seat in which they are placing their child and their trust is safe and reliable… any delays by a manufacturer in meeting their obligations to report safety issues with the urgency they deserve, especially those that impact the well-being of our children, erodes that trust and is absolutely unacceptable.
If the NHTSA investigation into the Graco child car seat recall ultimately finds that Graco violated the law (in terms of notifying regulators about the defective car seats), Graco could face civil penalties that are as much as $35 million.
Portland Product Liability Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm
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