Nation's Largest Car Seat Maker Recalls 19 Models

Dorel Juvenile Group, the nation’s largest maker of car seats, is recalling 19 models of car seats, including the Eddie Bauer and Costco Cosco brands.

The problem is with the harness that secures the child into the seat, according to a news release from the company. The company will mail repair kits and says that the car seats should not be returned to the retailer. The Chicago Tribune, however, has a few things to say about the car seats in question…

From the Chicago Tribune:

The safety notice comes six weeks after the Tribune reported that Dorel’s Eddie Bauer 3-in-1 seat and a related Cosco Alpha Omega 5-point, two of the models recalled, had failed government crash tests in 2005. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which regulates car seats, concluded there wasn’t a safety problem after reviewing Dorel’s own test results.

The company’s chief legal counsel, Bruce Weisenthal, said Friday that the recall is not connected to the government’s tests. Weisenthal said the voluntary recall stemmed from concern in Canada, where some parents reported difficulty maintaining tension in the straps after buckling their child in a seat.

“It was something that Canadians brought to our attention that we then voluntarily reported to NHTSA,” Weisenthal said. “It did not derive from injuries or accidents or any child that got hurt.”

He added that instances of slippage are rare.

At least one child has been injured in one of the models that was recalled. The Tribune reported that 1-year-old Hailey Schmidt of Missouri was in an Eddie Bauer seat when her head snapped too far forward in a January 2005 head-on crash, leaving her a quadriplegic. Dorel settled a lawsuit with Hailey’s parents without admitting fault.

Weisenthal said the family’s injury claim had nothing to do with the restraint system. The Schmidts alleged in their lawsuit that the car seat was not compatible with and could not be tightly installed in the rear seats of many vehicles, including their 1996 Nissan Maxima.

Six Eddie Bauer models and six Cosco models were among the car seats recalled. Dorel also recalled certain models sold under the brand names Safety 1st, Alpha Elite and Alpha Sport. All of the recalled models were manufactured between Nov. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2005.

To order your repair kit, click here.

Maker recalls car seats for kids [Chicago Tribune]
Dorel Juvenile Group