March 7, 2014 — Detroit News reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is demanding to know why Graco failed to recall 1.8 million child car seats with the same defectively-designed buckle as nearly 3.8 million car seats that were recalled last month.
The problem is that a sticky buckle can make it difficult or impossible to remove a child from the car seat in an emergency. In 2012, parents began reporting that they had to cut straps to remove their children from the car seat. Graco blamed the problem on “food or dried liquids” that make the buckles progressively more difficult to open.
Graco insists that the 1.8 million rear-facing infant seats are safe because if the buckle jammed, the seat could be detached from the base, which is anchored to the vehicle. The NHTSA disagreed, calling the recall “incomplete and misleading to both the agency and consumers.”
In August 2011, a 2-year old girl died in a burning vehicle because her mother and bystanders were unable to remove her from the Graco Nautilus car seat.
The Ramirez family filed a wrongful death lawsuit alleging that Graco “designed their ‘Nautilus’ car seat with parts that made it extremely difficult to remove a child that was secured in the seat during an emergency.” The case was resolved in an undisclosed settlement, according to the New York Times.
Recalled Graco car seats include 2009-2013 model years of:
- Cozy Cline
- Comfort Sport
- Classic Ride 50
- Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround
- My Ride 65, 70
- My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
- My Size 70
- Ready Ride
- Size4Me 70
- Smart Seat
- Smart Seat with Safety Surround
- Toddler Convertible Car Seats
Harnessed booster seats:
- Nautilus 3-in-1
- Nautilus Elite
- Nautilus Plus
- Argos 70, Elite
NHTSA Wants Graco Infant Car Seats Recalled
The 1.8 million additional seats the NHTSA wants recalled include rear-facing models used for infants, including:
- Snugride 30, 32, 35
- Infant Safe Seat-Step 1
- Tuetonia 35
- Snugride Click Connect 40
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