Earlier this year, Graco Children’s Products opted to recall 4.2 toddler safety seats due to a buckle-related defect. The harness buckles on affected safety seat models may become stuck. It is not difficult to imagine how a child stuck in a safety seat could be subject to a greater risk of harm in the event of an accident. Before the affected models were recalled, parents reported having to cut their children out of their safety seats simply to remove them safely from vehicles.
In response to parent complaints and a subsequent investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encouraged Graco to recall not only toddler seats affected by the defect but also infant seats outfitted with the same defective harness buckles. The agency insisted at that time that the buckles increase a risk of harm to children and infants involved in auto accidents and affected by other emergencies.
Initially, Graco resisted recalling infant seats manufactured with the defective harness buckles because infant seats may be lifted in their entirety from their bases in the event of an emergency. However, parents and first responders cannot adequately respond to all kinds of infant-related emergency simply by removing a baby’s entire infant seat from its base. If an infant is choking or seizing, for example, a parent or first responder will need to remove the infant immediately from its safety harness, not just from its safety seat base.
Finally, in response to pressures placed on the company by both the NHTSA and the public, Graco has finally opted to recall the 1.9 million infant safety seats manufactured with the defective harness buckles. Parents, please research your child’s safety seat model to determine whether or not it has been affected by this recall.
Source: ABC News, “Graco Gives in, Agrees to Recall Infant Car Seats,” Tom Krisher, July 1, 2014