In the event of a car accident, your child’s car seat is supposed to keep him or her safe. That’s why all states mandate car seats for children under a certain age and weight. But manufacturer Graco just issued a recall on nearly 4 million car seats because of a dangerous flaw that could put children at risk.
In the state of Georgia, all children under the age of eight are required to be in a car seat or booster. Because Graco is one of the country’s largest manufacturers of child safety seats, there’s a good chance that hundreds-of-thousands of Georgians will be affected by the recall.
Flaw could trap child in seat
The problem with the 3.8 million child restraint seats is the buckle. The buckles on several models get stuck, making it difficult to remove a child. The company began receiving complaints and launched an investigation into the seats in 2012.
Affected models include: Classic Ride 50, Comfort Sport, Cozy Cline, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite, Argos 70, Size 4 Me 70, and Smartseat seats from 2009 to 2013.
Several parents lodged complaints after having difficulties removing their children from the harnessed seats. Some were able to get their children out by loosening the straps while others had to cut the straps to remove their child.
In the case of a car accident, being unable to remove your child could result in a delay of medical treatment and further injury.
Feds say recall isn’t enough
Graco is facing criticism from federal safety officials who say the recall should include seven models of infant seats made with the same buckles. Because the recall is in its early stages, we could see it soon expanded to cover millions more seats.
Graco says the buckles become stuck when they are contaminated with drinks or foods when children spill their snack. The recall doesn’t currently include seats made for infants because the manufacturer says these children aren’t likely to be feeding themselves in the backseat. Further, they say, these seats can be detached from their base.
But if food and drink renders the car seats unsafe, why wouldn’t the company err on the side of safety and give parents the peace of mind of an expanded recall?
The NHTSA has used strong words in the “unusual” dispute over what seats should be included. They’ve said there is no “accord” to be reached and that Graco’s recall is both incomplete and misleading.
Recalls cost companies millions of dollars. In this case, Graco is sending out new buckles to the owners of their seats. They are also offering new buckles to those who own infant seats with a similar set-up when requested by the parents, though these are not being officially recalled.
Those additional infant seats that the NHTSA is pushing to be included in the recall are: Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35 and Snugride Click Connect 40.
Child safety seats are designed to keep kids secure while on the road. But in at least one case, these defective buckles have been blamed in the death of a child. It’s an outrage that the manufacturer wouldn’t go above and beyond what’s expected to ensure all children who ride in their products are safe from harm.