COVID-19 NOTIFICATION: To protect your safety in response to the threat of COVID-19, our staff is still available to serve you during our normal office hours. We are offering our clients and potential clients the option to connect with us via telephone, email and video-conferencing. Please call or email us to discuss your options.

West Virginia residents may be interested to hear that Graco is going to be out $10 million after paying a fine and creating new safety programs for its car seats. Apparently, this all has to do with roughly 4 million car seats that Graco failed to promptly recall as dangerous or defective products. The car seats had a buckle that was defective, which made it difficult for a child to be released from the harness in the event of an emergency.

Graco said that the problem was caused by children spilling beverages and foods on the buckles. However, federal regulators were not satisfied with this explanation, as it common for children to spill food and drinks while in their car seats. This is why the agency demanded that a recall be issued, but the company refused until a month later.

In December, a case was opened against Graco because regulators came across information that led to the fact that consumers had complained about the car-seat buckles as far back as 2009. Three years later, Graco was informing parents how to properly clean these buckles and claiming that there was not an issue with the safety of the buckles. According to federal regulations, Graco had five business days to make the NHTSA aware of a problem with a product’s safety.

Because of the company’s failure to notify the NHTSA within the required time period, it is now facing a $3 million civil fine. In addition, it is expected to spend $7 million to create safety programs. The company is required to submit an audit explaining how the money was used to implement such safety programs.

In addition to these fines, Graco may also face civil lawsuits for allowing consumers to purchase and continue to use dangerous or defective products. A negligent company can be held responsible for any injury its products cause, which could leave consumers open to compensation. West Virginia residents who want to take action and seek compensation for injuries will not only have the chance to gain financial awards for the harm caused but can also help bring a company’s wrongdoings to the attention of the public.

Source: The New York Times, “Graco to Pay $10 Million for Delay in Recall of Defective Child Seats“, Christopher Jensen, March 20, 2015