This combination toddler-booster seat - the Evenflo Maestro - is designed for children from 20 to 100 pounds. Children use it with the harness until they're big enough to use it with a vehicle's seatbelt.
Jennifer Stockburger with Consumer Reports says, "Here's how this seat is supposed to work. Once you clip your child in, you pull this 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.
Stockburger found, "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."
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.
Stockburger says, "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."
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 1-800-233-5921.