Graco Car Seat Recall: Buckle Replacement Needed For 3.7 Million Units

A Graco car seat recall has been issued for 3.7 million units sold between 2009 and July 2013. The issue is a harness buckle malfunction in toddler seats. There have been 80 reports of having to use extreme or excessive force to unlatch the buckles and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is concerned about the danger in case of an accident.

The Graco car seat recall was ordered by the NHTSA, who is also insisting that infant seats be considered as well. Atlanta based Newell Rubbermaid owns Graco and decided not to include seven different infant seats in the safety report. Although no injuries have been reported as a result of the harness buckle malfunctioning, the NHTSA is insisting that buckle replacements be offered to all customers. Unless Graco offers an official word concerning why the infants seat were not included, NHTSA may take legal action against the company.

“NHTSA’s investigation will remain open pending its evaluation of the Graco recall and until the Agency’s consideration of the review of the seven remaining seat models is completed,” wrote the agency in an open letter to the car seat manufacturers.

Food and dried liquids are blamed by the company for the sticking buckles. Over time, it is believed that the buckles can become progressively more difficult to latch and unlatch. They do not feel that the Graco car seat recall would warrant parents having to immediately ditch their products. Free buckle replacement is being offered to anyone who is interested. Customers were being encouraged to continue using the seats until they received their new harness. Below is an instructional video for changing out the faulty equipment.

Britax faced a similar issue in 2012 when their car seats were recalled due to a possible choking hazard on the neck pads. They only had 60,000 units recalled however. The 3.7 million Graco seats represent a very large recall by the popular infant and toddler product maker. AmSafe Commercial Products Inc. of Elkhart, Indiana makes the seat buckles and also manufactures buckles for other companies. The NHTSA is looking into Evenflo car seats that may have the exact same defects.

The recall involves the following models: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride With Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite, and Argos 70.

For now, parents are being urged to check the ability of their toddler seats to latch and unlatch properly. Also, make sure the buckle is free of any food, drink, or debris. If customers would rather replace the buckle, they can respond to the Graco car seat recall at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) or