Recaro Child Safety Llc
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4. RECARO has received notice of three accidents involving four children seated in ProSport child restraint systems. In these incidents, the ProSport performed well and the occupant was not injured. It is not known if the ProSports involved were installed using the lower LATCH anchors or, if so, whether the top tethers were used.
(E) Recaro states that its accident reports for the four years that the subject restraints have been on the market indicate no incidents of separation in the tether anchorage area. Petitioner surmises the reason that tether separation occurs in testing is due to an outdated test bench seat and testing apparatus.
3. All vehicles equipped with lower child restraint (LATCH) anchors are also equipped with top tether anchors. RECARO has received 82 consumer calls regarding the ProSport. (RECARO included copies of consumer call reports as part of its petition.) No consumer has questioned the use of the tether when securing the ProSport with the lower anchors. RECARO has no information of this misuse actually occurring in the field or of any injuries sustained by a child when restrained in a ProSport in this misuse condition.
III. Noncompliance: Recaro explains that the subject child restraints do not comply with the system integrity requirements of FMVSS No. 213, paragraph S5.1.1(a), when subjected to the dynamic test requirements of FMVSS No. 213 S6.1. During NHTSA's compliance tests with the Hybrid II six-year-old child dummy and the Hybrid III weighted six-year-old child dummy connected to the child restraints with the internal harness and the child restraints attached to the test bench with a lap belt and top tether, the tether belt separated at the attachment point to the child restraints. The top tether belt separation exhibited a complete separation of a load bearing structural element. Therefore, the child restraints do not comply with the requirements set forth in FMVSS No. 213 S5.1.1(a).
If Recaro did not wish to have its child restraints tested with the six-year-old and weighted six-year-old test dummies in the tethered condition, the manufacturer could have recommended its CRSs for children weighing up to 18 kg (40 lb), not 30 kg (65 lb). Since Recaro marketed the CRS as suitable for children over 18 kg (40 lb), the manufacturer is responsible for ensuring that its CRSs meet all the requirements of FMVSS No. 213 when tested as specified by FMVSS No. 213, and cannot absolve itself of those responsibilities by using its instruction manual to limit NHTSA's assessment of the CRS in a compliance test.
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