Over reports of what could possibly be a hazard to children’s safety, Graco recalls around 3.7 million car seats with defective latches. These car seats were manufactured and sold from 2009 to 2013. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is asking the company to recall an additional 1.8 million seats that use the same buckle. These numbers make the recall one of the largest in the last five years.
Graco Children’s Products, a leading manufacturer of products for young children, is part of the Newell Rubbermaid group based in Atlanta and retails their products at stores such as Walmart, Target and Toys “R” Us. Graco also manufactures baby monitors, high chairs, strollers, and swings, among others.
Why Are The Seats Being Recalled?
According to the NHTSA, at least 80 complaints were received regarding the car seats. There have been reports wherein parents needed to use excessive force only to unlatch the said buckle. There have even been instances where the straps of the car seats had to be cut to get the children out.
One of the parent’s concerns, was taking a lot of time to free her child, and how inconvenient it is, especially for emergency situations. She says, “It is extremely unnerving to have this happen to your child. What if we had a car fire or car accident?”.
The NHTSA reports that Graco volunteered to recall 11 of the 18 car seat models in question. The agency’s investigation is still open and pending, given that there are seven more models to be reviewed.
Which Products Are Put In Question?
Taken from the Graco website, the following models are being recalled:
Number of Units Affected: 3.7 million
Dates Produced: 2009 through July 2013
Models Affected: 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.
According to the reports, the item in question is the red release button at the center of the harness. Per the NHTSA, these are rather difficult to unlatch and can become stuck. This makes releasing the child more challenging, especially during emergency situations.
What Did Graco Say About The Defects?
According to the company’s website, they claim that dried liquids and food can make such harmless buckles tougher to open over time. Furthermore, the company offers new and improved replacement buckles to those who are affected, for free.
According to Graco, until the replacements are obtained, it is still safe to use the car seats for the children. The company says that the defective harness buckles do not, in any way, affect the overall performance of the car seat itself, or the ability of the buckle to restrain the child.
The NHTSA however, opts for the opposite. The agency encourages parents to consider alternative car seats for transporting their children until the Graco car seats are fixed.
Do you have any concerns or questions regarding product liability? Contact The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson, to ensure you are well-informed and protected.