NHTSA Orders Graco to Pay $10M over Defective Baby Car Seats

March 25, 2015

Following more than a year of investigation, regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have recently fined Graco Children’s Products $10 million as a result of how the company handled a 2014 recall for defective baby car seats. While this NHTSA action will require Graco to pay $3 million immediately, the additional $7 million will be due over the course of the next five years and may be put towards advancing child car seat safety and improvements.

In explaining this NHTSA action, NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind noted that, “[this] action uses NHTSA’s enforcement authority to not only hold a manufacturer accountable, but to keep our kids safe… It’s another example of our commitment to use every tool available to save lives on our highways, and to use those tools in an innovative and more effective way.”

Defective Baby Car Seats: Why Graco Was Fined

Following a year-long investigation into how Graco handled one of the biggest recalls for defective baby car seats in U.S. history, NHTSA has ordered Graco to pay $10 million.

Following a year-long investigation into how Graco handled one of the biggest recalls for defective baby car seats in U.S. history, NHTSA has ordered Graco to pay $10 million.

The hefty NHTSA fine that Graco will now have to pay resulted from the company failing to comply with the provisions of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. This Act specifically requires the makers of vehicle equipment to alert NHTSA officials about any possible safety issues associated with their equipment within 5 days of discovering the issue.

As part of the NHTSA action, Graco has accepted blame from failing to comply with this requirement, as Graco did not issue a timely report regarding its defective baby car seats to federal officials.

The problem with these seats was specifically that their latches would not disengage, creating potentially life-threatening situations after traffic accidents, etc. Ultimately, these defective baby car seats:

  • Resulted in two different recalls, one taking place in February 2014 and the second, an expansion of the recall, occurring in June 2014
  • Led to more than 6 million defective baby car seats being recalled
  • Sparked the biggest car seat recall in U.S. history.

Additional Obligations for Graco

Along with the fines, Graco will also have to meet some specific performance obligations as set forth by NHTSA regulators. In particular, these will include (but may not be exclusive to):

  • Developing new procedures for addressing consumer complaints
  • Instituting new methods for trying to improve registration for car seat owners
  • Creating better methods for assessing possible defective baby car seats
  • Rolling out a child vehicle safety campaign aimed at parents.

Portland Product Liability Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm

Has a defective product injured you or someone you love? If so, you can rely on the Portland product liability attorneys at the Savage Law Firm for experienced help and aggressive legal advocacy. Since 1977, our lawyers have been devoted to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services, and they are ready to put their experience and skills to work helping you.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Blog, Defective Vehicle Equipment, Personal Injuries, Product Liability