Gerry Baby Products Co.
1500 E. 128th Avenue
Thornton, CO 80241
Dear Mr. Lee:
This responds to Gerry=s letters of October 3 and December 18, 1995, and telephone conversations involving you, Gerry counsel Eric Witte and Deirdre Fujita of my staff, concerning two additions you wish to make to labeling information required by Standard No. 213, AChild Restraint Systems.@ I apologize for the delay in responding. As explained below, the statements are permitted.
Gerry=s question relates to S5.5.1(m) and S5.6 of Standard No. 213. S5.5.1(a) requires child restraints to be labeled with the following statement, inserting an address and telephone number:
Child restraints could be recalled for safety reasons. You must register this restraint to be reached in a recall. Send your name, address and the restraint=s model number and manufacturing date to (insert address) or call (insert telephone number). For recall information, call the U.S. Government=s Auto Safety Hotline at 1- 800-424-9393 . . . .
S5.6 of Standard 213 requires this statement to be included in the printed instructions for each child restraint. (S18.104.22.168)
First suggested change Gerry first asks whether it may add the following statement (or a similar one) to the above, instructing consumers not to place return address stickers on their cards: APlease print or type your address. Do not use address labels which can become damaged or illegible and could prevent you from being contacted in the event of a recall.@ Gerry believes this is needed because Gerry receives about 250 registration cards a year with missing or illegible address labels which were lost or damaged in the mail. Gerry cannot register these consumers without their names and addresses.
Our answer is that the additional statement is permitted. NHTSA has a longstanding position that manufacturers may present information in addition to the required information, if the additional information is presented in a manner that is not likely to obscure or confuse the meaning of the required information. See, e.g., May 24, 1993 letter to Steve Flint (permitting French and Spanish translations of registration form); April 17, 1989 letter to Robert Craig (labeling child seats with metric units). Copies of these letters are enclosed.
S5.5.2(m) is intended to maximize child seat owner registrations, so that as many child seats as possible are remedied in a recall campaign. The information you want to add to S5.5.2(m) accords with that purpose. Assuming that the information is presented in a manner that is unlikely to confuse prospective registrants or otherwise discourage them from registering their seats, you may add the statement.
Second suggested change You ask if Gerry may also add the following, after Gerry=s A800" telephone number: AThis is for recall registration only. For consumer concerns please call 1- 800-626-2996.@ Gerry believes this addition Aeliminates any confusion the consumer may have concerning the appropriate number to call if problems arise.@ In a March 12, 1996 telephone conversation with Ms. Fujita, you also explained that the suggested change could reduce costs for Gerry. Currently, registration information is collected for Gerry by a separate company, which charges Gerry extra for re-directing calls that relate to matters other than registration.
The additional statement is permitted, for the same reasons we discussed above. The statement appears to help you better serve your customers and reduce unnecessary costs. The statement does not appear likely to obscure or confuse the meaning of the required information.
Petition for Rulemaking In the December letter, which Gerry originally sent to Barry Felrice, NHTSA Associate Administrator for Safety Performance Standards, Gerry describes its request as a Apetition to change [Standard] 213....@ As discussed with you on March 12, since we have concluded that the labeling changes you seek are already permitted, we understand Gerry to have withdrawn its petition.
I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please call Ms. Fujita at (202) 366-2992.
Samuel J. Dubbin Chief Counsel
Enclosures ref:213 d:3/29/96