Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) & Maxi-Cosi (A division of Dorel Industries) announced a second recall on the Coral XP Infant Car Seats.
Unlike the recall from earlier this month which was a potential safety issue, today’s recall is all about NHTSA’s new “interpretation” of some long-ignored language in a federal standard that governs child safety seats, FMVSS 213.
To summarize, according to NHTSA, draft compliance reports indicated noncompliances related to the design and labeling of the Coral XP’s unique inner carrier, which is considered by NHTSA to be the “child restraint system”. Coral XP’s inner carrier cannot be installed into a vehicle without the use of the outer carrier, which NHTSA considers to be a “supplemental device”. As such, they claim all Coral XP models fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Safety Standard 213, “Child Restraint Systems.”
What does this mean?
According to NHTSA, this means the shell that is directly attached to a 5-point harness is considered to be the “child restraint system” and the base (or in this case the outer shell of the Coral XP, which contains the beltpath for direct installation with seatbelt) is “supplemental”. NHTSA therefore considers this to be a product that can *only* be installed with its respective base. That is because the part where the child is restrained, via the harness, doesn’t have its own beltpath to allow for separate installation with a seat belt system.
Implications for other products
We are concerned this new attention to interpretation of the standard may affect other rear-facing only models that do not have a beltpath for seatbelt installation at all, or for any model with a detachable section that does not have its own beltpath for installation. There are a few other products, past and present, that require the base for installation, as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Clearly, this new government ruling does not suddenly make these products inherently unsafe or even less safe in any way. It would be a shame if some of these great innovations are penalized due to this very late interpretation of the wording in the existing standard.
Recall Remedy for Coral XP Owners
“For owners of Maxi-Cosi Coral XP as well as Travel Systems containing Coral XP, you may continue to safely use your inner carrier when attached to the outer carrier and the outer carrier is installed with or without the base using the vehicle belt restraint system, consistent with the existing instruction booklet and labels. A free replacement car seat will be sent directly to you when it is available or if preferred, we will provide a full refund of your original purchase price. Please see further details below regarding model numbers impacted as well as how to register for a replacement car seat or refund.“
Advice for Owners Currently Using a Coral XP
“You may continue to safely use your inner carrier when attached to the outer carrier and the outer carrier is installed, with or without the base, using the vehicle belt restraint system, consistent with the existing instruction booklet and lables until your replacement car seat arrives.” See our installation videos on YouTube: Maxi Cosi Models
Our interpretation of this recall is simple. We agree with NHTSA when they state the Coral XP may continue to be used, “consistent with the existing instruction booklet and labels.” We always suggest parents and caregivers read and follow the manual and labels for their child safety seat. Car seats, including the Maxi-Cosi Coral XP, are very safe and protective when used correctly.
As for the recall, we are discouraged to see this new interpretation of a federal standard that may adversely affect many parents and various manufacturers. If there is an actual safety concern or a serious compliance issue involved, this interpretation should have been issued years ago when the first products of similar nature appeared on the market.