Too often, recall campaigns that impact children products take place after children are injured or involved in incidents. Graco has recently agreed to pay $3 million in fines to the U.S. government after it failed to report complaints concerning their car safety seats.
According to the official reports, the car safety seats produced by the company are fitted with certain buckles that may be hard to open. In the event of an emergency, the seat buckles may not open promptly, making it harder for parents to remove their children from their seats.
The problem has prompted several complaints from hundreds of consumers. However, an investigation carried out by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the issue had been presenting problems long before the company actually reported the complaints to the agency. The investigation later pushed the company to issue the largest child seat recall in the history of the country. Over 6.1 million car safety seats were recalled by Graco Children’s Products as a result.
The company has finally agreed to pay the fines it owed by ignoring the complaints and allegedly postponing to report them to the federal agency. But it has also spent about $7 million on measures to develop better and safer car safety seats. The company has reportedly developed programs that will register seat owners so they are notified whenever there are any safety issues that result in recalls.
According to the company, its executives have regretted falling short of the federal agency’s expectations for data collection. The rules are clear to all manufacturers. The NHTSA must be contacted promptly after companies learn about an equipment problem. Companies have five days to report the issue to the federal agency.
In February, the company recalled 4.2 million toddler seats over the buckle issues. The NHTSA proceeded to push the company to launch another campaign to include infant car seats with the same buckle issues. At the time, the federal agency accused Graco of soft-pedaling the recall by using documents that were seen as incomplete. Later in July, the company decided to give in to pressure by recalling an extra 1.9 million of car safety seats designed for infants.
Hopefully, companies will learn from this episode and will not allow problems to go unreported for long. Equipment failure that may lead to serious personal injuries should never be ignored.
If you would like to read more about Graco and its settlement with the government, follow this link.