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NHTSA 80-98
Contact: Tim Hurd Tel. No. (202) 366-9550

NHTSA Announces Recall Of Fisher-Price
“Safe Embrace” Convertible Child Safety Seats

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced a safety recall involving about 55,000 Fisher-Price “Safe Embrace” convertible child safety seats because of a possible malfunction in the shoulder harness locking mechanism.

Until a modification kit arrives, NHTSA Administrator Ricardo Martinez, M.D., advised parents to continue to use their convertible car seat, inspecting it each time it is used by checking that the harness belts remain locked in place.

"Safety is President Clinton’s highest transportation priority,” Dr. Martinez said. “An unrestrained child is at a much greater risk of injury in a crash than a child in a restraint system."

Fisher-Price, Inc., said the recall involves Model Number 79700 Safe Embrace convertible car seats, which are used in a rear-facing position for infants up to 22 pounds and in a forward facing position for toddlers up to 40 pounds. The recalled seats were manufactured from May19,1997, through March 29, 1998.

Through its own consumer research, Fisher-Price learned that the current harness adjuster, which is used to tighten and lock the harness belts around the child, may malfunction if a spring breaks or dislocates from the correct position. When the harness adjuster fails, it may not properly lock the shoulder belts in place. If this occurs, the child would not be adequately protected in a crash. Fisher-Price is offering a modification kit that will contain a newly designed harness adjuster for consumers to install.

Neither Fisher-Price nor NHTSA has had any reports of injury as a result of this problem.

Consumers who own the Safe Embrace convertible car seat should contact Fisher-Price, toll-free, at 1-800-355-8882 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. (EDT) Monday through Friday, to obtain a replacement harness adjuster. For better service, consumers are asked to have their car seat nearby when they call the Company.

Consumers may also write to: Fisher-Price Consumer Affairs, 636 Girard Avenue, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052. Consumers who have registered their convertible car seats with the company will automatically receive the replacement harness adjusters.

NHTSA and Fisher-Price are urging every owner of this product to obtain and install the replacement part in order to prevent the possibility of problems with the harness adjuster in the future.

Consumers with questions about this or any other safety campaign should call NHTSA's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).