Unsafe Graco Car Seats Grow by 403,000 in Expanded Recall
In February, Graco issued a voluntary recall of approximately 3.7 million child safety seats, due to the products’ malfunctioning harness buckles. According to a statement from Graco, “As part of our continuous product testing and improvement process, Graco identified that some harness buckles can become progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position. Therefore, we have decided to conduct a voluntary recall on the harness buckles used on select toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats.”
Now, according to the AP, Graco Children's Products has added more than 403,000 child seats to the original 3.7 million. Still, the dispute with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues, with the NHTSA wanting Graco to add 1.8 million infant seats to the recall. These seats apparently have the same buckles as the seats already recalled, the AP indicated. The NHTSA was also not satisfied with the Graco description of the problem with the buckle previously, as indicated in a February 11th letter from Jennifer Timian, Chief, Recall Management Division (Office of Defects Investigation, Enforcement) at the NHTSA to Sean Beckstrom, Vice President-Legal Affairs, Graco Children’s Products, Inc.:
“NHTSA rejects Graco’s description of the defect. It is inaccurate. Graco incorrectly implies that the defect exists only if the buckle is not properly ‘maintained.’ Instead, the defect appears to occur through normal and foreseeable use of the car seat. Furthermore, Graco inadequately describes the defect as ‘difficulty unlatching the buckle.’ However, the information available to Graco clearly indicates that the actual defect is that users may be unable to unlatch the buckle at all. This condition prevents a parent or caregiver from removing a child from the car seat in certain circumstances, including, and most significantly, in circumstances following a crash or other emergency situation when time is of the essence. Moreover, Graco’s characterization of the condition leading to the Subject Buckles sticking or becoming stuck in the latched position as being a ‘maintenance’ issue, or resulting from a lack of cleaning, is both inaccurate and misleading to consumers.”
Graco continues to maintain that, “our car seats are safe and effective in restraining children. You can continue to use your car seat while waiting for your new buckle,” referring to the replacement buckle owners of the seats can request from the company.
For more information on exact models included in the Graco recall, a list of frequently asked questions by consumers on this issue, and instructions on how to contact Graco about the safety seat you own, visit the Graco website.