There are times when your child’s car seat may be recalled because of a defect that can injure your child. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem free of charge. Typically, you do not have to send the safety seat back to the manufacturer if there was a recall. Most problems can be fixed by replacing a part that the manufacturer will send you.
In February 2016, Evenflo Company, a car seat manufacturer, recalled more than 56,000 combination car seats in coordination with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The company identified a safety concern for its Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat. Three model numbers, 34411686, 34411695 and 3441102, that were manufactured from December 18, 2004 through January 29, 2016, were affected by this recall.
Evenflo car seats were being recalled because of a harness problem. There was a possibility that the car seat’s Central Front Adjuster (CFA) button, which is used to loosen the seat’s internal harness, was within a child’s reach. Evenflo said that if children can reach this button, they can loosen the internal harness, allowing them to get loose. This is a major concern for the safety of children, as it increases the risk of injury in a crash.
The problem was discovered in late January 2016 during Evenflo’s analysis of consumer feedback. Evenflo says the problem only affects the seats when they’re used as forward-facing harnessed boosters, not when using the vehicle’s seatbelt to hold the child. So far, no injuries have been reported.
Replacement Car Seats
Evenflo has notified owners and is sending out new parts for the seats. They are sending out a free remedy kit with a new seat pad, FCA assembly and installation instructions. Installing the replacement parts will restrict a child’s access to the CFA. If you have not received your remedy kit, you can order through their website at www.transitions.evenflo.com.
Evenflo Transitions 3-in-1 Combination Booster Seat
The Evenflo Transitions safety seat is called a 3-in-1 Combination Booster seat since it provides 3 modes of use:
- Forward-facing harnessed booster (recall is related to this mode)
- High-back belt-positioning booster
- No-back belt-positioning booster
To provide proper restraint in the forward-facing harnessed booster mode, the Transitions’ internal harness must be tightened to fit snugly around the child.
For further information or to determine if your child’s seat is included in this Evenflo recall, contact Evenflo customer service department directly. Do not try to return your child’s Transitions car seat to retailers.
Can you still use the Transitions seat while you wait for the remedy kit?
Evenflo asks customers to pay attention to whether their children are accessing the CFA area. If they are not, there will not be a risk of the CFA being activated, and the Transitions seat may still be safety used in harnessed mode.
If a child is accessing the CFA area, the Transitions car seat may still be safely used in either high-back or no-back belt-positioning model with children weighing at least 40 pounds and 43 inches tall. If the child does not meet the minimum size requirements for the belt-positioning booster mode, then the seat should not be used until the replacement is installed.
If you do not see your children accessing the CFA area, but they still seem to be within reach, a safety precaution is to stop using the car seat. Their curious minds may lead them to eventually press the CFA button and loosening the harness. If you stop using the car seat, make sure you do not let your child ride in a safety belt only.
Is Your Car Seat Safe?
Even if you do not own a Evenflo car seat, a safety precaution is to find out if there has been any recall for the car seat that you own that you may not be aware of. Manufacturers are required to fix the problem at no cost. If your child’s safety seat was recalled, get it fixed right away. Although some defects are minor, some are still quite serious. All problems should be corrected as soon as possible. You do not want to risk the chance of possibility injuring your child.
You can find out by calling the manufacturer or contacting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) safety hotline at 888-327-4236. Make sure your car seat has a label with the model number and date of manufacture so that you can check to see if the seat has been recalled.
Every car seat is different, so always read the user guide and check the expiration date stamped on the plastic. Most car seats last between 5-9 years after they were manufactured, not when they were bought.
Check your car seat to see if there are any defects, such as cracks on the plastic. Make sure the car seat you are using has never been used in a crash. If you are using a used car seat from a friend or relative, find out about its history. Ask them for a detailed instruction booklet, or order it from the manufacturer if they do not have it, and make sure that the seat is not missing any parts. Ensure that you installed the car seat properly and are using it correctly.
It’s also helpful to know your state’s child safety seat laws and ensure that you are doing everything possible to keep your child riding safe!
Disposing of Car Seats
If your car seat has expired, was in a crash, and is no longer usable, you will need to dispose it properly. See if there is a special recycling center near your area. If there is no recycling center in your area, destroy the seat to make sure it will not be picked up by someone and used by another child. Break it down with a power tool and make it as unusable as possible. Mark it “Do not use as a safety seat” before throwing it out, wrapped securely in a black trash bag. Try to reduce the number of eyes that might see this as a potential item to take and use.