The child injury attorneys of Passen & Powell have learned of another widespread consumer recall of a defective and dangerous product for infants and children. Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG), in cooperation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), recently issued a recall of a number of immensely popular car seats manufactured under its corporate umbrella.
These seats have a defect which allows the harness adjustment strap to loosen while the carseat is in use. As our car accident attorneys are only too well aware, this is a serious problem for car seat safety. Because children and infants must be securely fastened into a car seat for maximum safety, this could greatly increase the risk of injury, and severe injury, in the event of a crash.
The recalled car seats include both infant seats and convertible and booster carseats for toddlers and preschoolers. Some of the seats were also sold as part of a stroller travel system. The recalled car seats were manufactured between May 1, 2007 and April 30, 2009.
All the affected seats were sold under the brands Cosco, Maxi-Cosi, Eddie Bauer, Julie Vallese, and Safety 1st. The models affected include Alpha Omega, Alpha Omega Elite, Enspira, Priori, Prospect, and Vantage (convertible seats), and Mico and OnBoard (infant seats). All were manufactured by DJG.
These are some of the most popular car seat brands and models in the nation. The recall affects not thousands, not tens of thousands, but nearly 800,000 carseats nationwide.
The company instructs consumers who own these car seats to continue to use them until the problem is repaired, but to adjust the harness adjustment strap to fit snuggly each time a child is buckled in.
Although the company has issued a recall, it refuses to admit to the magnitude of the problem. Although DJG concedes that it has received nearly 150 complaints from consumers about the loosened straps, it continues to assert that there is no danger from the product defect. DJG continues to assert that the loosening straps were not a “safety defect,” but were simply a “performance issue.” To the contrary, however, car seat experts emphasize the importance of secure fastenings to receive any real safety benefit from the seat.
DJG notes that there are no reports of injuries or deaths from the problem. We note, however, that this is likely because those were injured were unaware of the defect or those who became aware of the loosened straps stopped using the seats.
Nor was the recall initiated by DJG itself. Instead, the impetus for the recall came from the NHTSA, who received complaints from consumers and began an investigation into the problem.
The company is, however, taking some responsibility for correcting the problem. For owners who have registered their carseat with DJG, the company will contact them and instruct them on how to receive a free repair kit. Owners who have not registered their car seat can obtain a repair kit through DJG’s website, or by calling the company’s toll-free number (1-866-623-3139).
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago child injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.