• car seat

Last week, Britax Child Safety, Inc. announced the voluntary safety recall of all of their Britax Chaperone Infant Car Seats with the following model numbers and colors:

  • E9L692J (Black/Silver)
  • E9L692K (Red)
  • E9L692L (Cowmooflage)
  • E9L692M (Green)

These child restraint seats were manufactured between September 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011. 14,220 car seats are included in this recall.

This safety concern addresses a rivet that may have been improperly installed, which could allow the harness adjuster to separate from the car seat shell. If the harness adjuster does separate from the car seat shell, the straps may not properly secure the child during a crash, significantly increasing the risk of injury or death.

Proper child restraint devices are extremely important, particularly because automobile accidents represent one of the major causes of death and injury in children. The National Institutes of Health explains that parents should even avoid purchasing used car seats, as they often lack the safety instructions and may have cracks or other condition issues that make them unsafe. This is especially true if they were in a previous car accident and were damaged.

Many drivers underestimate the tremendous forces which are exerted on those involved in a car accident. This helps account for the common misconception that holding infants while driving is safer than putting them in a suitable infant car seat. Car-Safety.org explains that “forces in a crash can be hundreds of pounds or much more, too great for someone to hold a child safely.”

A document from Buckle Up Montana explains that the force needed to restrain occupants during a crash equals approximately the weight of the occupant multiplied by the pre-crash speed of the vehicle. That means a 10-pound infant involved in an accident that occurred when the car was moving at 30 mph would require at least 300 pounds of force to properly restrain them.

Consumers who own the Britax Chaperone Infant Car Seat and notice that the harness adjuster has detached are instructed to immediately discontinue their use of the product and contact the manufacturer. The company will provide a remedy kit which contains a harness adjuster clip and instructions detailing how to properly install it.

Although no injuries have been reported yet, the advisory notice from Britax goes on to explain that all owners of the Chaperone Infant Car Seat should “confirm whether their child restraint is affected by verifying the date of manufacture and model number.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration explains that repair kits will be mailed to drivers free of charge during the recall, which will occur on or around February 6, 2012.

This most recent recall from Britax follows an October 2010 safety recall of Chaperone Infant Car Seats manufactured between April 2009 and May 2010. In that safety notice, Britax explained that an incorrectly-produced chest clip was at risk for breaking apart due to its brittleness. This posed a laceration risk from the sharp edges of the broken plastic, as well as a choking risk if the plastic fragments were swallowed.