The importance of child safety in vehicles is entrusted to child safety seats. When the safety of child safety seats is questioned, many families may be understandably concerned. It was recently announced that the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) will be investigating child seat maker Graco's delay in reporting design defects in child safety seats that were ultimately recalled in what government officials have called the largest child seat recall in history.
The defect in question was a safety defect in the harness buckles on the child safety seats. According to the NHTSA, manufacturers have, at most, 5 days to report a safety-related defect in motor vehicle equipment, including car seats, once the manufacturer is reasonably aware of the defect. In total, greater than 6 million car seats were recalled earlier this year following what the NHTSA described as "continuing pressure" from the agency. Earlier this year, Graco reported the defect to the NHTSA concerning 3.7 million car seats, and the recall was expanded to 4.1 harness buckles on safety seats a month later. More seats were later recalled for a total of 6 million recalled seats.
According to government documents, prior to the recall, Graco received over 6,000 complaints and learned of circumstances when the buckles on the safety seats became stuck and parents were required to cut the straps to free their children. Graco stated it took all necessary actions to keep consumers safe. Graco also noted that no injuries have been reported and is providing replacement buckles. Recently, Graco also announced a recall of 5 million strollers because of a "fingertip amputation hazard."
Products liability law is an area of the law that seeks to help keep consumers safe from defective and dangerous products by ensuring, whenever possible, those affected consumers receive compensation for damages and by holding manufacturers of defective products liable for harm caused by their products. It is important that victims of unsafe products have resources, legal recourse options, remedies to pursue whenever harmed.