Last month, Graco did the most massive recall of car seats ever – recalling 3.8 million to replace a faulty harness buckle. They’ve just added an additional 403,000 seats to the recall. They still haven’t agreed to recall their infant seats – which use the same harness system. I sense another article in my future.
The buckles are faulty because if they get grimy from dirt, dried liquid or food particles they can become stuck – making it impossible to free children from the seats quickly in case of an emergency. Some parents reported having buckles so stuck they needed to cut the belts to free their children. This is not okay.
Graco found that additional toddler and harness booster seats need to be recalled. “The 403,222 seats added to the recall include 2006 through 2014 Argos 70 Elite, Ready Ride, Step 2, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Size 70, Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround, Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Plus, and Smart Seat with Safety Surround, according to NHTSA documents.”
Graco still refuses to recall the infant seats, because the company insists they are used differently than the toddler seats. They argue that infants don’t snack or drink things in their seats that would soil the buckles and that if an emergency arose you could release the whole seat from the base. This reasoning is ridiculous as far as I’m concerned. You can’t guarantee the cleanliness of a seat – and where is the logic in claiming that parents can just eject the whole seat? Really? That’s your answer? You think it’s acceptable that an infant may have to be cut from a seatbelt that has a faulty harness? What if a parent isn’t using the base? In cities it’s common to travel without one when using public car services. From USA Today:
In its letter to NHTSA, Graco said it didn’t include the infant seats because they are used differently than the toddler seats, and because in an emergency, an adult can remove the whole seat from the car rather than unlatch the buckle.
“Graco looks forward to further discussions with the agency to resolve any remaining issues relating to those additional car seats,” the letter said.
This whole thing is just leaving a bad taste in my mouth. If the products are unsafe they need to be recalled. Period. I can’t believe Graco is arguing these points. It’s nonsense.