Ceding to demands from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Graco has issued a recall of 1.9 million rear-facing infant car seats. This recall is an expansion of a similar recall issued earlier this year.
In February 2014, Graco recalled 4.2 million toddler car seats due to the buckles being susceptible to becoming gummed up by food and drinks; a malfunction that could make it difficult to extract a child from them in the event of an emergency. The NHTSA had wanted Graco to expand the recall to include infant car seats, but Graco had resisted the move until now.
Pete Bigelow, Associate Editor of AOL Autos, noted in February that:
“An investigation conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed more than 6,100 cases in which parents or caregivers had great difficulty unlatching the car-seat buckle and complained to Graco, a maker of childcare products like car seats and high chairs. In some cases, the parents were unable to unlatch them at all, and needed to resort to measures like cutting the seat’s straps.”
Graco had resisted expanding the recall to include rear-facing infant seats, arguing that parents and caregivers could simply remove the infant seats entirely, rather than attempt to extract the child from the seat. In a strongly-worded letter from the NHTSA in February, regulators demanded to know why the infant seats weren’t included in the recall.
Newell Rubbermaid, Graco’s parent company, issued a press release about the recall on the company’s website. In the notice, company president and CEO Michael Volk states:
“We are pleased to have reached a resolution of the infant car seat buckle investigation with NHTSA, consistent with the financial assumptions we communicated with our first quarter earnings announcement. We remain focused on growing the Graco brand and driving the Growth Game Plan into action to transform Newell Rubbermaid into a larger, faster growing, more profitable and more global company.”
As of this post, there are no known reports of injuries related to the faulty car seats.
Graco has created a website that helps consumers determine if their car seat is affected by the recall, and how to order a free replacement part. The website also provides instructions for how to clean malfunctioning buckles, and promises that it is safe to use the car seats while waiting for replacements.
Have you had any problems with your own Graco car seats? Let us know in the Comments section.
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