Graco, which makes infant car seats, strollers, pack and plays, and other baby equipment has issued a recall that affects 3.7 million car seats due to faulty buckles.
Although there have been no publicly reported injuries, according to the Graco website, they’re recalling the seats because children can get stuck, due to faulty buckles that won’t unlatch – leaving some parents no other choice than to cut the straps of the car seat to free their child.
Needless to say, this could be very dangerous in a car crash or car fire when getting your child out of the car seat needs to happen quickly.
Recalled Car Seats
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that this is the fourth largest car seat recall in U.S. history. The recall includes 11 different Graco car seat models made from 2009 through July 2013, and retailed between $99 and $399. These models include:
- 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 Seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.
Do You Have a Recalled Graco Carseat? What to Do?
If you are like many parents who have a Graco car seat, Graco is offering a free, new, and improved harness buckle to those costumers who own seats with the defective buckle. However, Graco is asking that you try to clean the buckle before asking for a replacement, as they say that food and drink can make it sticky and hard for the buckle to release.
Graco provides a video on how to clean the harness and buckle, shown below. If cleaning has not improved the performance of the buckle, then you can contact Graco for a replacement via their customer service number at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) or email them at email@example.com.
Health and Safety: Car Seats Provide Restraint During Crashes
Car seat safety is a critical issue for parents – if you’re in an accident, even a tiny fender-bender, your kids could get badly injured if they’re not properly restrained. If you’re not sure if your car seat is safe, or whether you (like the majority of parents) have not installed it properly, go to one of the NHSTA’s inspection stations. You can get your car seats inspected for free – all in the interests of keeping kids safe in cars.
Unlatching Car Seats: A Safety Issue
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) opened the investigation in February 2013 based on 25 complaints and since then, they have received an additional 55 reports of parents having difficulty unlatching the car seat’s buckle.
Parents: Check your car seats and test out the buckle, if it’s hard to unlatch, try cleaning it the way Graco suggests and then if it still does not work, ask for a replacement. Graco also suggests that you should use another car seat until your replacement buckle arrives.