18,000 Evenflo Maestro car seats recalled

October 15, 2010 Once you clip your child in, you're supposed to pull the front strap to tighten the harness.

But in a simulated 30-mile-per-hour crash test that Consumer Reports had performed at an outside laboratory, two of the seats failed when used with their harness.

"In our test, this detached from the seat and the shell cracked. This adjuster pulled back through the shell and allowed the harness to loosen," said Jennifer Stockburger.

When you look at the crash test again, you can see the strap getting pulled back through the seat, which allows the harness to loosen.

"Should the harness loosen in a real crash, it allows the child to move much farther forward, exposing their head and neck to injury, as well as increasing their potential for ejection. The harness came loose in both of our tests with the three-year-old dummy using the harness, one where the seat was installed with LATCH and the other when it was installed with the three-point seatbelt," said Stockburger.

Consumer Reports notified Evenflo and the company issued "a voluntary safety recall of certain Maestro child restraint systems . . . built between November 24, 2009 and April 9, 2010."

You can determine when a seat was made by checking the label on the top of the shell. The manufacturing date is at the top.

Evenflo says that no injuries have been reported, but it has developed a free fix that parents should install before using the seat in harness mode. It also says parents of bigger children may safely use the Maestro seat in its booster mode until the fix comes. To get your repair kit, contact Evenflo at 800-233-5921. safety.evenflo.com

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