Graco is recalling nearly 3.8 million car seats because buckles may be hard to release, posing a danger in the case of an accident.
The AP reports that despite the massive recall, which involves 11 models sold from 2009 through 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is unhappy with the company.
NHTSA wants Graco to recall an additional 1.8 million rear-facing infant car seats because they suffer from the same problem, regulators say. Graco, meanwhile, argues the buckles stop working properly when debris and liquids are dropped into them. In a scathing letter to the company (PDF), NHTSA said it is “completely foreseeable that children will eat or drink while seated in their car seat.” Debris and liquids, NHTSA argues, “should not inhibit or prevent the buckle from its intended function as a ‘quick release device.’ ”
USA Today talked to Graco, which said that the infant car seats can be taken out of a car with the child still strapped in — that is, the car seat can be detached from a base that’s strapped to the car seat. The paper adds:
“Graco said it is offering an improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost.
” ‘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,’ the company said in the statement.”
The recalled models, USA Today reports, include “Cozy Cline; ComfortSport; Classic Ride 50; My Ride 65; My Ride with Safety Surround; My Ride 70; Size4Me 70; Smart Seat; Nautilus; Nautilus Elite; and Argos 70.”