The company Graco is recalling nearly 3.8 million children’s car seats because the buckles may not unlatch in an emergency. Eleven models are included in the recall, including the 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. The recall only affects the models made between 2009 and 2013.
Despite the large number of seats that are already included in the recall, federal safety regulators are also pushing the company to include 1.8 million more rear-facing infant seats with similar latches that may have the same issue. These models include the Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35 and Snugride Click Connect 40. This is the fourth-largest child seat recall in U.S. history, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If the additional seats are added, it will be the biggest.
The problem is that the red release button in the middle of the harness can be difficult to unlatch, or can get stuck. This can make it difficult or impossible to remove a child from the seat quickly in an emergency. The company has gotten many complaints from consumers, some of which had to actually cut the harness in order to get their children out. According to Graco, “food and dried liquids can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.”
The company said it wasn’t voluntarily recalling the infant seats because infants don’t get food or drinks on the seats. Also, if the buckle jammed, the seat containing the baby could be detached from the base.
If you have one of the 11 recalled models or one of the seven infant seats that are in question, the company will replace the harness for free. They’ll send you one if you registered the seat or call their hotline at 800-345-4109. You can also get more information and send an email to ConsumerServicesGracoBaby.com.