Graco is recalling nearly 3.8 million car safety seats because children can be trapped, but is refusing to recall seven other infant seat models, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice shows.
The buckles may not unlatch, making it difficult to remove the child from the seat. That increases the risk of injury in a crash, fire, or other emergency when a speedy exit from the vehicle is required.
"NHTSA's investigation will remain open pending its evaluation of the Graco recall and until the Agency's consideration of the review of the 7 remaining seat models is completed," the agency said in a statement.
That means the agency and company will continue to negotiate whether a recall is warranted for the Snugride infant seats, a disagreement that could wind up in court if it proves contentious.
In an emailed statement, Graco said it "identified that food and dried liquids can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position." It emphasized that the infant seats were not included in the recall but did not say why.
Graco said is is offering an improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost.
"Graco would like to stress this does not in any way affect the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle to restrain the child," the company said in the statement.
The child seat recall covers 11 models sold from 2009 through 2013.
NHTSA says it has at least 80 complaints about the seats. Parents said they had to use excessive force to unlatch the harness buckle. In some cases, the straps even had to be cut to free children.
Graco said in a letter to NHTSA that it had been monitoring the performance of the buckles since 2009 and had given owners advice on how to use and clean them and offered replacement buckles.
The recalled models include Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite and Argos 70.
Consumers can contact Graco at 1-800-345-4109 (toll-free) or 1-330-869-7225.
Re: Graco seat recalls
We are going shopping on sat so good to know info
It has basically the same "red button" release as the forward facing seats. I was reading on Baby Gizmo blog that it's anticipated that the snugrides will also be included in this recall, eventually.
That button can be a real pain to press if you have a reflux-er or a leaky bottle that gets down in the assembly and dries. Hopefully the replacement makes that (clean-up) easier, as well as safe.
Edit to add: I just realized I have intended to take my girls' matching Gracos to a consignment shop this week to sell them. I guess I should wait for the recall, or take them in anyway since they haven't officially recalled them yet.. Thoughts??