Approximately 10 months ago I purchased an Eddie Bauer infant car seat and stroller Travel System. Through the time I have had this car seat I have used it without any problems. The infant seat has never been involved in a motor vehicle accident and has never been used or “snapped” onto anything other than our (2) car seat bases and stroller.
I was recently driving in a parking lot at a low rate of speed with my child restrained in her car seat in the back, when I hit a bump. I continued to drive until I heard my child screaming. When I turned around to see what was wrong I found her restrained in her overturned car seat. When I stopped the car and went into the back to evaluate the situation, I realized the car seat had actually dislodged itself from the base. As I said before I have been using this seat for some time with no problems. I have always followed the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the proper use of this car seat, including installation and every day use. Regarding what happened with my car seat, I was terrified. As an emergency medical technician I am very familiar with the kinematics of a car accident. Had this been a high speed side impact collision I feel that my child, along with the car seat, could have easily been thrown through the side window.
To make matters worse, when I called the customer service line to discuss the problem and report my concerns I was told to pull on the release handle of the car seat to see if the hooks that restrained it to the base would move. The hooks moved as intended to and the customer service representative said to me “Well then there’s no way that could happen.” and essentially told I was lying. In addition to this, rather than accept my feedback as the positive criticism it was intended to be, I was told that since my car seat had passed its one year manufacture date warranty there was nothing that could be done. I found this disappointing and concerning as I had not mentioned wanting any sort of reparation, I was merely pointing out a potential safety flaw in the product. I feel that since there were no physical defects with the product that this was not a warranty issue, rather a quality problem. I feel that this product should perhaps have its side impact safety reviewed. My child is still under the maximum weight limit, weighing in at 17 pounds, 2 ounces at her last check up.
The manufacture date of the car seat is in December of 2006, however I didn’t purchase the seat until June of 2007. If the company is implying that the product is only effective during the warranty period, then perhaps it should say that it only has a life span of one year. The car seat was installed per manufacturer’s recommendations and had not been previously compromised by any sort of motor vehicle accident.
When calling the customer service line, I was just looking to report a problem and perhaps find out what may have gone wrong, not to be told I was lying, spoken to in an extremely rude manner and told that since the warranty had expired no one cared about the effectiveness of the product or the safety of my child.
Since the incident with the customer service representative, I have done some research on the Eddie Bauer/Cosco infant car seats and found that I am not the only one who has had issues with the seats. I understand that with any product there will be flaws here and there but it seems that the Eddie Bauer/Cosco line has more than it’s fair share, all the while being very uncooperative with their customers.