B005WHQKG4_1Graco is recalling almost 3.8 million carseats because of a buckle issue that may make it hard to free a child from the seat in the event of an emergency, the company announced this week. It’s one of the biggest recalls of its kind, and the company is currently contesting a government request to recall nearly 1.8 million more.

The issue? The red release button in the middle of the harness can become stuck, especially with the accumulation of food and dried liquids, making it impossible to remove a child quickly in the case of an emergency. The company insists this is “not a new issue” and that they have been “working to help consumers for some time now.” Is that supposed to make parents feel better? From The New York Times:

One parent complained to the safety agency that it took 45 minutes to free her toddler and that worked only after the straps were loosened and the girl was squeezed between them. “It is extremely unnerving to have this happen to your child,” she wrote. “What if we had a car fire or a car accident?”

The company is contesting the recall of its infant seats, claiming that rear-facing infants are not given food or liquids while riding so the seats should not encounter the same problems. Whatever. Do you have more than one child? Have you ever seen the havoc a toddler can wreak on a backseat? I wouldn’t count on anything in a two foot radius of a three-year-old not to have some residual crap all over it. Also, they claim rear-facing infant seats can be detached from the base and freed that way. We all know not all people use bases at all times – especially those commuting in and out of car services in the city. And anyway – I would like to be able to remove my child any and every way, Graco. What the hell?

According to Graco’s website, the affected models include the 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 and the harnessed booster seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos.

The seven models that Graco isn’t recalling despite being asked to do so by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are all infant seats: Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35, and Snugride Click Connect 40.

Graco is offering ”a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost.”  People can obtain one by calling 800-345-4109 or emailing consumerservices@gracobaby.com.

(photo: Amazon)