How Safe Is Your Baby's Car Seat?
One of the biggest concerns among parents is safety issues with baby car seats. Each year baby car seat recalls accounts for 15% of baby car seat malfunctions that end in minor, life threatening and/or fatal injuries to infants and young children. Don't assume your child's car seat is safe! Find out if the car seat brand you're using to protect your precious cargo is included in baby car seat recalls before it's too late.
Baby Car Seat Recalls Cast Doubt On Major Brands
More often than parents like, news broadcasts and publications release information about child safety seat recalls, especially when the recall list is massive and includes well known car seat brands like Evenflo car seats. This incites fear among new parents, especially parents with children under 50 pounds who use baby car seats and child safety restraint devices while driving. Normally parents are more concerned about the brand they are currently using and the level of risk they're taking while using the car seat. This alone makes parents skeptical of using their baby car seat at all. The reason for this skepticism is because most parents suspect that baby car seat recalls are the end result of an infant fatality or serious injury where that particular brand was involved.
Why are Infant car seats recalled?
Many times it's not the seat that's the problem but faulty parts and components that could be the reason the car seat is unsafe and recalled. There are two reasons a baby car seat will be recalled. One reason is because of gross negligence in the car seat design that results in fatalities like strangulation and decapitation or other serious injuries. Typically these car seat recalls are considered "breaking news" and parents across the nation frantically check the brand they are using. For example the Recaro Signo child car seat harness recall in March 2009. This type of Infant car seat recall covers a large number of models or model years with the same problem.
Then there are the child safety restraint parts and replacement recalls where components of the safety seat malfunction or break easily and could result in minor bodily injury or discomfort to the child, such as the January 2009 Peg Perego Primo Viaggo child Car Seat design Recall. These child car seat recalls occur more frequently than most parents realize and what's even scarier is this type of recall and recalls just like it are rarely made public. That is unless the safety restraint parts for recall or replacement were directly related to a serious infant injury.
How do infant car seats get recalled?
The severity of the child car seat malfunction will determine the method manufacturers use to consider a product unsafe for consumer use. Most manufacturers pre-test and inspect their products before it's released to the public. When the manufacturer discovers a malfunction or faulty part, the baby car seat is factory recalled.
When this occurs most often a shipment of those car seats could have passed internal inspection before the malfunction was discovered. This is when the manufacturer releases a public notice of the potential dangers of that specific car seat brand as a precaution to warn parents who may have already purchased the car seat.
Baby car seat recalls can be determined by several methods that include internal inspections, Insurance claims inspections, US Safety Belt Administration inspection, National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration inspections and Parent tips. These entities can perform specific inspections and initiate child safety seat recalls based on accidents statistics, the products inability to comply with child safety restraint laws and regulations, malfunctions and problems a number of parents have encountered and reported.
How to find out if your baby car seat is safe
There are online websites which offer a complete listing of child car seat recalls. Try the DMV recall website, NTHSA, US Safety Belt Administration site and other sites like ODI (Office of Defect Investigations) and baby product safety and recall web sites. This is one of the best ways to find out if your baby car seat is part of a child safety restraint recall. Also be sure to consider the following when checking the safety of your baby's car seat online.
- Always have the manufacturer year, model and make of the car seat. Model and Year are very important to have. If you don't have this information contact the manufacturer or go online for photos of that brand and get the model number or name from there.
- Always make sure to register your baby car seat with the manufacturer after purchasing. By registering, you'll be immediately notified and instructed on what steps to take next when there's a recall on your specific model.
- Report any potentially hazardous problems you've noticed with your child car seat. Make sure to report the problems to the manufacturer, US safety belt Administration and NTHSA. This will start the investigative process that results in a recall.
Remember 35% of baby car seat recalls are the direct result of concern parents reporting baby car seat problems whether large or small. Help other parents by avidly reporting minor or major problems with your baby car seat or check for any problems