Earlier this year the child safety seat maker Graco ordered the recall of 3.6 million toddler seats due to a faulty buckle. If gunk or food particles stuck underneath the button to unlock the seatbelt, the belt would not unlatch. In an emergency, the parent might not be able to remove the child safely from the vehicle. The company has now added an additional 403,000 seats to the recall, making it the fourth largest child safety seat recall in history.
403,222 seats have been added to the recall, including 2006 through 2014 Argos 70 Elite, Ready Ride, Step 2, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Size 70, Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround, Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Plus, and Smart Seat with Safety Surround.
We have included instructions on how to obtain a new buckle from Graco, as well as videos on how to replace the buckle, clean the buckle, and operate the buckle.
Obtaining a Replacement Harness
On Graco’s website they explain the process in taking care of the recall. We recommend contacting Graco early because we are unsure how long it will take for the company to send out replacement harness buckles.
Graco offers a new and improved replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. If you are experiencing difficulty with your harness buckle and cleaning has not improved its performance, please contact our Graco customer service team at 800-345-4109 (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.) or [email protected]
An automated reply from the initial email states that more information will come within the next 72 hours.
Additionally, Graco provides instructions on how to clean and operate the seat belt latches on their child safety seats. We will pass along more details when we learn them.
Cleaning the Harness Buckle
Opening the Harness Buckle
Replacing the Harness Buckle
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the governmental agency responsible for recalls. They want Graco to include an additional 1.8 million infant safety seats to the recall. They suffer from the same issues, but Graco claims that they do not need to recall them because in the event of an emergency, it is easy to remove the entire safety seat from the vehicle with the child still in it. The NHTSA is still pressuring for a recall, and if those seats are recalled it would make the Graco recall of 2014 the largest in United States history. The company has until March 20th to provide a satisfactory answer to the NHTSA on why the seats weren’t recalled.
It is important to remember that the latches will function in a crash, holding a child safely in the seat as designed. The issue arises when the parent tries to unlatch the child from the seat. In an emergency, like a vehicle fire, the extra time needed to unlatch the latch increases the danger to the parent and the child. We have writers on staff who are continuing to use their Graco seats until the replacement buckle arrives.