The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Graco Children’s Products have announced this afternoon, that they are initiating a recall of 1.9 million infant car seats due to difficulty with the harness buckle. This recall will be the nation’s largest recall ever of a child’s car seat. For the past 6 months, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been working to Graco to have replacements issued for the harness and that is what Graco is now offering with this recall.
The difference in opinion was whether a recall was really necessary. The NHTSA argued that the harness buckles were quite difficult for a parent to open especially over time. Graco argued that in an emergency situation, the whole car seat could be lifted from the car. NHTSA argued that in an emergency situation, most adults would try to open the harness and that in an emergency time was of an essence. Today Graco relented and stated,” As part of our continuous product testing and improvement process, Graco identified that some of the harness buckles used on our infant and toddler car seats sold in the United States are difficult to open. In response, we are recalling the harness buckles used on select infant, toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats.’
Graco, a division of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc., will offer a new and improved replacement harness buckle to consumers at no cost. To find out information about your model of car seat go to www.gracobaby.com.
Infant-seat models covered by Tuesday's recall include the SnugRide, SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35), SnugRide 30, SnugRide 35, SnugRide Click Connect 40, and Aprica A30. They were manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013.
According to NHTSA Chris Sherwood, a biomechanics engineer and former senior research engineer at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, he stated, “Graco is one of the industry leaders, and that “Parents and caregivers should feel confident in choosing Graco car seats.” According to Graco, there have been no injuries reported because of the problem. Spokesperson Ashley Mowrey said in a statement, that Tuesday's move, which brings the recall to 6.1 million seats, comes after months of sharing data and research with NHTSA. The company said the recall "is in the best interest of consumers and underscores our shared commitment to child passenger safety."