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& Wilson, LLC Land & Soil Contamination : Vehicle Collisions : Personal Injury

Fine for Graco in car seat flaw case

Car seats are an essential piece of automobile safety equipment for families with young children. In Louisiana and other states, the law requires that all children under 4 years old ride in a seat with an internal harness. Car seat makers are expected to ensure the safety and smooth operation of their equipment, and when they become aware of a defect, alert customers promptly and issue a recall.

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has reached a $10 million settlement with Graco Children's Products, a subsidiary of Rubbermaid, which has agreed to pay the fine for taking too long to alert customers to a problem with its safety seat buckles. The company has since issued a recall of more than 4 million seats, the largest ever in this industry. Customers had filed hundreds of complaints about trouble getting children out of the seats due to jammed buckles.

Graco will pay $3 million to the government immediately and spend another $7 million within the next five years, unless the company uses this money to develop better child safety. The company has agreed to work with the government on child passenger safety initiatives. It will also take steps to improve consumer registration of car seats to ensure that customers are notified of recalls and take advantage of manufacturer fixes or replacements.

The safety of children in cars is of utmost importance, and parents rely on car seat manufacturers to produce a safe, usable product. When companies become aware of a product defect, they are under obligation to let consumers know. Not doing so can make the company liable for any accident or injury related to the product. Attorneys with expertise in product liability can help victims gain compensation for injury by assembling facts and evidence related to the manufacturing defect and its association with accidents or injuries.

Source: Bloomberg, "Graco Fined for Slowness in Telling Parents of Car-Seat Flaw," Jeff Plungis, Mar. 20, 2015

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