In the fourth largest child car seat recall in history, the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Graco is voluntarily recalling 11 child car seats, affecting 3,773,379 units. However, according to the agency, an additional 1.8 million seats should also be recalled.
The NHTSA reports the buckles on these seats may become stuck and not unlatch, a problem Graco attributes to kids eating in the car. Graco spokesperson Ashley Mowrey explained that “food and dried liquids make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.”
According to the company’s website, the recall includes model year 2009 through July 2013 for following models:
Toddler Convertible Car Seats
- Cozy Cline
- Comfort Sport
- Classic Ride 50
- My Ride 65
- My Ride 70
- My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
- Size4Me 70
- My Size 70
- Head Wise 70
- Smart Seat
Harnessed Booster Child Seats
- Nautilus 3-in-1
- Nautilus Elite
The NHTSA has urged the company to recall its infant seats, but Graco has refused. The Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35, and Snugride Click Connect 40 all use the same buckle as the recalled models. However Graco officials feel there is no danger since infants in rear-facing seats do not spill food and drinks.
Graco is offering a replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. Call 1-800-345-4109 or email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org for a new buckle.
Play it safe
Graco feels that parents should continue using the seats until they get a replacement buckle. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “encourages parents and caregivers to consider acquiring an alternative car seat for transporting children until their Graco seat is fixed.”
If you must use the car seat, consider traveling with a seat belt cutting device. Any seat belt can become stuck, and in an accident, every second counts. Most belt cutters have a safety blade, allowing you to slice safely through the belt. Some models also include a window breaker, providing an emergency exit if your door becomes stuck and your window won’t work.
Seat belts and child safety seats save countless lives every year, but they can also be prone to manufacturing and design defects or malfunction at times. Taking a few simple steps to ensure safety may save a life and help protect the ones that you love.
Source: “3.7 million Graco car seats recalled due to buckle issue” by Greg Botelho and Mike Ahlers, CNN, February 12, 2014.