Mamas & Papas Recall Children’s Car Seats Due To Safety Concerns

 In Laura Gough, Product Liability

assembling baby seat


November 2016 saw an urgent recall by Global retailer Mamas and Papas for all of their Nembus, Aureus and Altair multi-group 1/2/3 model car seats due to a safety concern that these products may not provide protection for children in the event of a car accident.

It was reported that the shell of these affected models of car seats could be susceptible to cracking and may not provide the appropriate level of protection to a child in the event of an accident.

The recall came with an assurance from Mamas and Papas to their customers that the affected car seats, which were sold through retailers Asda, Tesco, Shop Direct as well as some independent retailers, have not been sold since March 2015 and that there have not been any reports of incidents involving the affected models.

This follows a reported warning by consumer group Which? In respect of the Nuna Rebl i-Size car seat, after their safety tests concluded this product could put children at a “high risk of serious injury”.  The Nuna Rebl i-size, currently retails at up to £395.00 and is suitable for children from 40cm to 105cm tall, which is from birth to around four years old.

The product was tested by Which? and performed so badly in front-impact crash tests when tested rearward facing with a crash test dummy representing a three-year-old, that its score was downgraded and the product was classed as a “Don’t Buy”.

Which? warned consumers that using the car seat in rear facing mode for an older child could put the child at serious risk of injury or even death.

In response to these reports, Nuna issued a statement to reassure customers and advised that the Nuna Rebl i-size, had been certified as “meeting and exceeding” all relevant UK government safety standards.  They confirmed that the product would not be recalled unless the relevant national authorities deemed it as unsafe.   However, Which? advised that Nuna has now offered refunds to customers concerned, despite not being legally required to do so.

UK law currently states that all children must use the correct car seat when travelling in a vehicle until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall. Recent UK media reports suggested new laws could lead to backless booster seats and booster cushions possibly being banned altogether as of December 2016.  It has now been confirmed that booster seats will not be banned under any new UK laws.  The BPA (British Products Association) and car seat makers have confirmed backless boosters cushions are unlikely to ever be banned, as it is safer for children to use booster cushions as opposed to using nothing at all.

However, new legislation has brought about a height and age increase in when children should use backless booster seats.  Previously, booster cushions fell under the Group 2/3 car seat category, meaning they could be used for a child from approximately 4 years old.  The new extension recommends children use backless boosters once they are at least 125cm tall, which is approximately 7-years-old. From January 2017 manufacturers will no longer make booster cushions or backless booster seats for smaller children under 125cm tall.

This change will only apply to new products and not child restraint systems which are already in use and meet existing safety standards.  Therefore, if you currently use the older booster seats that comply with the existing regulations you will not be breaking the law if you continue to use them following this rule change.

If you are concerned about the safety of a product you have purchased and require advice, or if you have sustained injury as a result of a dangerous, defective or faulty product please contact us.  It does not matter if the product was manufactured outside of the UK, as long as the product was purchased in the UK it is governed by UK laws and standards.

Laura Gough RTA Solicitor

Article written by Laura Gough, Road Traffic Accident & Product Liability Fee Earner

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