Volkswagen Recalls Vehicles for Problems with Child Car Seat Base
Volkswagen is recalling 54,537 of its 2018 Atlas SUVs because wide child car seat bases in these vehicles may interfere with and damage seatbelt buckles in the second row. This could cause the belts to release unexpectedly leaving vehicle occupants unprotected in the event of a crash. According to Consumer Reports, if a car seat with a base wider than 12.6 inches is installed in the second-row center seating position, it may damage the center and adjacent outboard seatbelt buckles. This issue is not noted in the owner’s manuals. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas recall does not affect models with captain’s chairs in the second row.
Details of the Recall
Consumer Reports says the problem really has to do with the Atlas rear seat design. The base of the car seat must be narrow to fit between the center buckle and the driver-side outboard buckle. Otherwise, if it is overlapping the release button on the outboard buckle, the base of the seat could press down on the button or damage the buckle allowing it to disengage the seatbelt for that outboard passenger.
Car seats with 12.6-inch bases or narrower can be installed in the Atlas center seat using either the seatbelt or lower LATCH anchors. This can be done as long as the base does not interfere with nearby buckles, experts at the Consumer Reports say. If a car seat uses rigid LATCH connectors or has a wide base, then parents should install the seat in the outboard seat, experts say.
When the recall begins, VW dealers with inspect the center and left outboard seatbelt buckles and replace them if necessary at no cost to consumers. The automaker will also provide an owner’s manual supplement that addresses child safety and child restraint. Affected models are 2018 VW Atlas SUVs equipped with second-row bench seats manufactured between Nov. 17, 2016 and June 5, 2018.
If You Have Been Injured
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of these or other auto defects, you may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative therapy, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced auto defect lawyer will be able to hold the negligent automakers accountable and help victims and their families obtain the compensation they rightfully deserve.