Fixing a broken spring in a car safety seat

Thursday, November 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Riding in a car seat is routine for 2 year-old Colton. A few weeks ago, that routine hit a snag. “As I put him the seat here and brought the arm down, the spring on the side here snapped and broke the arm - and the arm just fell off and broke in two pieces." Ending Tiffany Cleveland's morning errands.

She called the manufacturer Cosco. "We spoke to several different people. It took a while to find who we were supposed to talk to." It took several calls to different departments to get an answer. "They told us the arm has been redesigned and has new springs. There was no recall on it and they said they had had problems on it - they'd send me a new arm and new springs that were different." It took three days to get the new part - so Colton was homebound.

His mother was worried about other parents who have the same car seat, and frustrated at Cosco's response. "I think they should have been concerned and had better answers to the questions we were asking and let everybody that had bought this car seat know that it needed to be fixed."

Cosco says with recalls - it follows recommendations of the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association, which tracks complaints. There are others. We checked the website for the National Highway and Traffic Safety Association - which tracks complaints. We found 17 complaints about the same model - 9 others about the arm spring breaking. “And a lot of times on this spring handle you can see this little wire hook that sticks out.” This is the old version of the arm spring.

Safe Kids says it is a fairly common design and despite some problems, is not on any defect or recall lists. "They obviously haven't crash tested it to the point where they can put it on the recall sheet because we're not even concerned about this seat yet this concerns me greatly and the fact that this has broken concerns me greatly for the safety of that child.”

Safe Kids is keeping an eye on this problem and encourages people to file complaints if necessary with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration - on how to do that and how to find out about recalls and defects.