Infant Car Seat Carriers — Great until you Drop One

Photo of an infant car seat carrier.

Greg at Daddytypes has put two and two together to deduce a link between infant car seat carrier injuries and defective handles on said car seat carriers.

First, in 2006, 21 percent of injuries in such seats were from non-motor vehicle incidents… a mere 14,200 babies going to the emergency room.

Second, the most-recalled product in the last 10 years has been infant car seat carriers, due to handle failure "babydumping handles were the single most common reason for Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls in the last 10 years." (See Greg’s comment below regarding the correction.)

He then rightfully chastises the powers that be for being slow to see a connection, and that, hey, maybe safety standards need to be revisited.

I foresee three emerging business ventures…

1) Baby Crash Helmets — for parents unwilling to give up their car seat infant carrier. And no, I don’t mean pudding caps.

2. Parking Lot Nannies — for after you’ve abandoned your car seat and need a hand with your heavy burden, but don’t require the services of a full-time nanny.

3. "So you Wanna Be a Parent?" gym classes — for boosting the upper body strength of prospective parents so they can live without a car seat carrier. The core conditioning exercise will be carrying a bag of groceries. Hmm, maybe a half-dozen cartons of eggs.

CPSC: We’re Still Ignoring The #1 Safety Threat: Car Seat/Infant Carriers

In happier news, if I survive our baby shower this afternoon, I’ll have a post-baby shower wrap-up this weekend. I survived, but am pooped. Monday’s post will be titled, Anatomy of a Baby Shower, and in a small uncircumcised way will be a play on words.

Comments

6 Responses to “Infant Car Seat Carriers — Great until you Drop One”

  1. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    Is this fellow being sarcastic?

    The handle issue was one reason I decided NOT to buy a Evenflo infant seat. Because of their history.

    But when I go to this recall list: http://www.carseat.org/Recalls/179NP.pdf and search for handle, ALL the handle problems that have been recalled are with Dorel or Evenflo. And both of those companies have “histories” There are many more infant seats than just these two. Graco (Snugride, and now Safeseat) is one of the most popular. Peg Perego. Chicco. Even Britax makes an infant seat!

    Also look at all the seats on there and tell me the most recalled item even on this list is infant car seats. And this list doesn’t mention all the other toys, etc. So I want to see documentation of that claim.

    February 29th, 2008 at 6:47 am

  2. greg from daddytypes says:

    Hey, AJ asked me about the data I used to make the claim. Actually “most recalled products in 10 years” is wrong. I misquoted myself from May 2007

    [link here: http://tinyurl.com/2ts5ep ]

    When I first did the analysis on babydumping car seats, it should have said that babydumping handles were the single most common reason for CPSC recalls in the last 10 years.

    Both then and now, I was discussing the CPSC and its recalls, not NHTSA. Car seats are regulated for non-motor vehicle use by the CPSC, and in vehicles by the NHTSA. The carseat.org data mentioned above includes many, many recall notices of car seats that relate to their use in vehicles. Car seats and carrier makers affected also included Cosco, Kolcraft, and yes, Graco.

    The fact is that NHTSA standards don’t address the handle, and the CPSC doesn’t have its own standards, but relies on weak, too-late, reactionary responses to voluntary industry/ASTM standards that allow demonstrable and continuous failures. The number of recalled units is a symptom, then, of a failed system which allows millions of unsafe products onto the market, which parents think are regulated/inspected/safe.

    Also, I based my claim on the total number of car seats recalled over the last 10 years [ie, since 2007], which was around 12 million. The carseat.org data had no numbers, and it also included many references to car seats older than 10 years, so yeah, the total number of recalls is going to be different. It’s apples and oranges on the data.

    As far as being the “most recalled” baby or nursery product, which is what I was thinking I’d written last year when I made the claim yesterday, that is still arguably true, depending on what you compare it to. Which makes it a rather hyperbolic and meaningless claim that does little more than get your attention. mea culpa, but still.

    For kid-related stuff, on a units affected bases, children’s clothing of all types is probably the most-recalled product category. Toys is a tie, or close second. Since my original research was from last May, before the Great Lead Toy Plague of ’07, I should have qualified it even more.

    But even with all the crib recalls and baby walker recalls over the last 10-11 years, the sheer number of affected units is significantly smaller than car seats. 1-2 million total vs 12 million.

    As for making informed choices based on a company’s history of safety, high five to that. I was shocked to see how many recalls on that carseat.org list were labeled as “not publicized.” But while your kid is safe thanks to your diligent research, MBR, the fact that 12 million people *have* bought car seats that end up getting recalled tells me that there’s still a problem somewhere, either in parents’ decisionmaking process, their misplaced belief in government or industry safety standards, ongoing failure of policymakers and government regulators, or some combination of the three. I hope my misquote doesn’t detract from that larger point.

    February 29th, 2008 at 10:45 am

  3. Cindi Hoppes says:

    I find it ironic that we have parents that worry about a very safe car seat , as well they should. Yes, they should know how to use it properly. Then, I see almost every day a “Brittany” type person who doesn’t have a baby in a car seat at all or a child buckled up! Companies should be able to make a great safe ride for babies by now. Car seats have been available for quite awhile! Cindi

    February 29th, 2008 at 12:07 pm

  4. Allie says:

    Greg, thanks for the correction. AJ, thanks for posting Greg’s info. I was wondering when somebody was going to say something about the problem with the handles. Good luck with the Leap Day baby shower.

    February 29th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

  5. Herman says:

    I found your emerging business ventures really funny, was just picturing all of them. Anyways a nice read.

    February 29th, 2008 at 10:15 pm

  6. Jennifer says:

    I am now 3 months pregnant and have been thinking what kind of carseat to use. one of the 3 in 1 perferibly britax or to get the infant carrier first then get a second carseat. so is it better to use the 3in1 for a newborn? i know they all pretty much say that they start at 5 lbs. so if any comments they are appreciated. thanxs.

    April 4th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

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