About 3.4 million Evenflo Co. infant car seats that double as portable carriers are being recalled because the handle can snap off, dumping the child onto the ground.
It is the fifth major recall of baby car seats by various makers since 1998, and brings to 10 million the number of car seats that have recently been determined unsafe by federal regulators.
Ninety-seven people have reported injuries because of the car seat/carrier's handle breaking, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday. Many of the injuries were serious, including skull fractures, concussions, a broken leg and numerous scratches and bruises.
The recall involves all Evenflo Joyride car seats, which are white or gray plastic with seat pads of various colors or patterns.
"Evenflo Joyride Car Seat/Carrier" is written on the outside of the handle locks. The seats have model numbers beginning 203, 205, 210, 435 or 493, which can be found underneath or on the side of the car seat carrier.
Major discount stores nationwide sold the car seats from January 1988 through December 1998 for about $30. They were sold for about $89 when purchased with a matching stroller.
Evenflo, based in Vadalia, Ohio, stopped selling the car seats in 1998, but government safety officials fear they are still in wide use.
"You may have used this carrier with your first baby and had no problem," said commission spokesman Russ Rader. "But now you might be getting it out of closet to use for a second baby or received it as a hand-me-down from a relative. That could be a problem, because we found that these carriers wear down over time and become dangerous."
The commission also is investigating whether Evenflo reported the accidents to the government, as required by federal law.
Rader said Evenflo did not test the car seat/carriers properly. Evenflo recalled about 800,000 car seats in 1998.
The commission asked for the recall after receiving customer complaints and reports of injuries from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
A call to Evenflo officials seeking comment was not returned.
To receive a free repair kit for the carrier, call Evenflo at 1-800-557-3178. All of the baby car seats recalled since 1998 can be seen on the commission's Web site, beginning Tuesday.
(c) MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2001 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.