In February 2008, there was a massive scale car seat recall on unsafe Evenflo infant and children’s car seats. The ironic part is this recall was being enforced by the government when there was no government standard dictating how well car seats must protect children in the case of a side automobile accident.
Our car accident attorneys believe safety should always come first, so the car seats were right to be recalled whether or not government standards for car seats existed.
The discovery of the faulty car seats was actually discovered partly by chance. The NHTSA had been working on developing regulations for side-impact car accidents, and car seat tests were conducted as part of that research. When a ram struck the side of the motor vehicle at 38.5 miles per hour, the part of the car seat where an infant would be strapped down broke free, and that part was thrown around the car upon impact. Had a baby been actually strapped in, it would have probably gone through the same ordeal as the broken part of the car seat.
This problem with the Evenflo car seat was so serious that the NHTSA decided to insist on a recall, although there were no standards governing the safety of the car seats in side-impact auto accidents. Design defects like these need to be taken care of before injuries like spinal cord injuries.
Unlike most recalls though, Evenflo will not be giving customers new seats. Instead, owners of the car seats can request a “dual-hook fastener” to keep the seat from separating from the base in the case of an auto accident. A spokesman for NHTSA said that the fastener had been tested and that it worked. Another NHTSA senior associate administrator said that a final decision on whether to set up side-impact guidelines will be made by the end of the year.
The reason for the absence of side-impact guidelines even up until now is not a consequence of carelessness. In 2004, the NHTSA told Congress that a side-impact standard for car seats was extremely difficult to regulate, because there was no good test method. The Takata Corporation of Tokyo, which makes restraints like air bags, claims to have come up with a valid test.
The NHTSA is currently testing it, and according to their officials, the Takata system “holds more promise than anything we have seen yet.” Our car accident attorneys strongly believe that the side-impact car seat regulations should be set. That way, in the case of a car accident, the babies and children will be safe and not flying out of the car.
Please contact us for a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney — we speak both English and Spanish — at (800) 655-6585. Click here and you may also submit your case for a Free Review. No fee if no recovery.