Graco has announced the recall of 3.8 million car seats after reports came in that children were getting trapped inside the harness, making it dangerous in the event of a fire or accident.
The company says that during testing, they found the issue to be related to food and beverages that had made the buckles sticky and hard to open.
"As part of our continuous product testing and improvement process, Graco identified that food and dried liquids that can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position," says a statement on their site. "Therefore, Graco has decided to conduct a voluntary recall on the harness buckles used on all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured from 2009 to July 2013. 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. And a car seat is always the safest way to transport your child."
Graco is offering to send concerned parents a replacement buckle at no charge if they contact customer service at 800-345-4109 or firstname.lastname@example.org. No injuries have been reported, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that there have been occasions where a child had to be cut out of a seat.
"Some of these consumers have had no choice but to resort to the extreme measure of cutting the harness straps to remove their child from the car seat," the NHTSA said in a letter to Graco.
The agency has been investigating the car seats since 2012 and is urging Graco to recall another 1.8 million rear-facing infant car seats. However, Graco says that because infants wouldn't use food or drink in the car seat--and their findings have discovered those things to be the cause of the buckles sticking--that it's not necessary. The investigation remains open.
The affected seats are: 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.
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