Chrysler Recall: Cars, Child Seats

Chrysler Corp. is recalling 685,000 late-model cars that can sometimes roll away when left in park.

Models covered in Tuesday's announcement are the Chrysler Cirrus and Dodge Stratus from model years 1995-1998 and the Plymouth Breeze and Chrysler Sebring from model years 1996-1998. Dealers will notify motorists in December about bringing their cars in to be fixed for free, said company spokesman Mike Aberlich.

Drivers shifting out of park when the key is in the locked position can break a part connected to the shifting mechanism, later allowing a stationary car to roll away when the parking brake is not set, Chrysler officials said.

However, Aberlich said today that someone, whether a driver or a child, would have to be in the car and shift the car out of park for it to roll away. Cars designs usually prevent shifting while parked by requiring the use of the key.

Fifty motorists have reported the problem, claiming it caused five accidents and one injury, Aberlich said.

The company also is recalling factory-installed child seats in 157,000 Chrysler Town and County, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan and Plymouth Voyager and Grand Voyager minivans for model years 1996-97.

Both recalls appeared in a government report released Tuesday and were confirmed by Chrysler officials.

More than 160 parents have complained that their children were trapped in built-in child seats in Chrysler minivans when the restraint systems' belts malfunctioned, according to reports filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some parents said they were forced to cut children out of the seats when the shoulder belts started retracting and failed to release from around childrens' heads. A handful said the retracting restraints became so tight they choked the child, according to reports filed at the NHTSA.