On Friday, Evenflo initiated a voluntary recall of more than 18,000 Maestro Combination Booster Seats in the U.S. and Canada after Consumer Reports’ tests showed that the seat can crack and fail in a simulated 30-mph frontal collision. The $80 car seat is designed to be used either as a conventional child car seat using its own 5-point harness or as a booster seat for larger and older children using the vehicle’s seatbelt. No problems were found when used in booster seat mode, but when used as a conventional car seat, the seat’s plastic shell cracked and the harness loosened causing the dummy to snap forward (refer to the video below). While no cracks or injuries have been reported in the field, Evenflo was able to replicate the results in its own testing and, as a result, has issued this voluntary recall.
Has Your Car Seat Been Recalled?
In the US, the recall involves 13,792 units with model numbers 3101198, 3010980, 31011048, 31011049, and 31011059 – all U.S. units manufactured up to April 9, 2010. In Canada, the recall involves 4,479 units with model number 31011057C – units manufactured up to April 26, 2010. The model number and date of manufacture can be found on a white label behind the seat above the highest shoulder belt slot. Consumer Reports notes that the models failing their tests were manufactured in December and February, and units manufactured after April 2010 included design modifications and passed their tests.
What To Do If Your Car Seat Is Affected
The Company is sending notices to registered owners of affected seats and asking retailers to pull the seats from their shelves. If your seat is among those recalled, you should stop using the seat immediately and contact Evenflo for a free reinforcement kit by calling 800-233-5921 in the U.S. and 800-265-0749 in Canada. The reinforcement kit consists of a metal bracket that is installed on the underside of the seat. Jennifer Stockburger, manager of Consumer Reports’ vehicle-and-child-safety program, cautions owners not to switch to booster mode prematurely because the problems were only identified in the harness mode. “A child is better secured and has less potential for injury in a crash when secured using a seat’s internal harness. Moving a child to a booster seat mode prematurely is actually a step-down in overall safety,” she says.
Owners who are using the seat as a booster seat may continue using the seat while they wait for the reinforcement kit. The seat was rated a “Best Bet” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for use in booster mode.
For details on the recall, including a video installation of the remedy kit, visit Evenflo’s recall information page.
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