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Product recall: Evenflo Discovery infant car seats

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Feb. 2, 2008, thehive.modbee.com

If you’re relying on Evenflo to keep your baby safe, pull out those model numbers.

Friday, the government and the company announced a voluntary recall of 1 million Discovery car seats after tests showed that the seat could separate from its base in a high-impact side collision.

The recall involves Discovery Models 390, 391, 534 and 552 manufactured from April 2005 through last week. If the description matches your carrier, you can call Evenflo toll-free at 800-356-2229 between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m. west coast time, weekdays, or visit its website for details about getting an additional fastener officials say will make sure the seat stays on its base.

This is a voluntary recall, for a couple of reasons.

First, the base is considered a convenience. Technically, you don’t have to use it – you can use most infant carriers as safety seats without installing bases.

What planet are these people from? Part of the attraction of an infant car seat/carrier combination is the base: Snap in, pop out ease. It’s at best naïve, at worst disingenuous, to call a base a convenience.

Second, the base-carrier separation is just a potential safety risk, because evidently the thing didn’t fly apart all the time during testing.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration praised the company’s action. Evenflo has taken appropriate reaction today, a government news release said.

What’s beginning to bug me is that Evenflo has had to take appropriate reaction eight times since 2001, in a mix of voluntary and mandatory recalls involving several million car seats. Go back a few more years and you’ll find almost a dozen more incidents. The biggest was the 2001 mandatory recall of 3.4 million Joyride car seats because the handle could release unexpectedly and bounce your bundles of joy out on their heads.

Seems folks at least take brain damage seriously, though it took 240 skull fractures, concussions, a broken leg and numerous scratches and bruises to get someone to act.

Last year, Evenflo had to recall 450,000 Embrace infant carriers, also for handle problems that led to concussions and skull fractures. That recall came one year after Evenflo had, for some reason never explained, quit manufacturing the model in question.

And a 2005 recall involved 6,000 Tribute infant seats that flat didn’t meet federal safety standards.
A suspicious person would begin to see a pattern here.

So what’s a parent to do? First, be sure to register important baby gear — cribs, car seats, etc. Companies must contact all registered owners in the event of recalls. Even if it’s hand-me-down gear, you usually can contact the manufacturer and re-register in your name.

Second, if you didn’t during the Great Toy Recall Plague of 07, sign up for free Consumer Product Safety Commission email alerts. They won’t cover safety seats, though — the transportation safety board handles those, and that agency doesn’t have an email alert system that I can find.

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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