Have you heard the latest news? Graco has to recall 43,994 “Frazier” ComfortSport convertible carseats because of an insert cushion “that partially obscures the child airbag warning label”. I’m working on saying that without laughing but so far I haven’t been successful. Honestly, it’s really not funny – it’s ridiculous. If you’ve read my previous blog post “Recalls – the good, the bad and the ridiculous” you know how I feel about the subject.
In this case, the recall “fix” is to stop using the extra pillow insert that came with the seat. I wonder how much money this recall campaign is going to cost Graco? On the one hand it seems unfair that they have to recall all these seats just because the airbag warning label is partially obscured by the insert. I mean really, if some moron is going to put a RF convertible in the front seat with an active airbag – a little thing like a visable airbag warning label isn’t going to stop them.
On the other hand, Graco should really know better. It’s not like they’re new to this whole FMVSS213 thing. Plus, I can’t help but to point out that if they had replaced the ancient ComfortSport (which is now almost 10 years old and wasn’t even their own design to begin with) with a new, improved convertible seat years ago then they probably wouldn’t have this problem now. Instead, they resorted to marketing tactics like cutesy covers, pillows and padding up the wazoo to entice consumers to buy their outdated product.
With all that said, I think there’s actually a bigger issue here. If, as a CPS professional, my job is to take these ridiculous recalls seriously – what exactly are my obligations when a parent shows up with the exact same seat, with the exact same pillow covering the AB warning label but it’s not a “Frazier” cover so it’s not recalled? If NHTSA is going to be serious about this kind of stuff then they can’t stop at Frazier. Not when Alesia, Westcliff, Felicia, Wheaton and Eva ComfortSports all have the same insert. That would really be ridiculous.