Graco orders child car seat recall after thousands of complaints, several lawsuits, and an in depth investigation
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) requested that Graco Children’s Products Inc., the highly popular car seat manufacturer, recall 3.7 million child car seats because of a defective safety latches. According to ABC News, the NHTSA says that it had received 135 consumer complaints since October 2012 regarding the latch mechanism of the seats, and that Graco has received more than 6,000 complaints, including 74 in which parents or caregivers had to cut the harness straps in order to remove the child from the car seat.
The Graco child car seat recall includes the following seats manufactured between 2009 and 2012 –
Argos 70, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite, Cozy Cline, Classic Ride 50, Comfort Sport, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 65, and My Ride 70.
The following car seats were not recalled, however the NHTSA believes they should be –
Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Snugride 35, Snugride Click Connect 40, and the Tuetonia 35.
According to the letter issued to Graco by the NHTSA, the government agency began investigating the complaints in February 2013 and found “numerous instances where the harness buckle was difficult or impossible for consumers to unlatch.” While Graco said that the buckle can become difficult to unlatch once the internal components of the buckle is contaminated with “food, dried liquid drinks, vomit, formula, etc”, the NHTSA rejected that theory, as well as the theory that consumers are simply frustrated with the buckles because they are using “improper unbuckling procedures.”
The NHTSA letter reports that there are at least two lawsuits filed against Graco over the defective buckles. One lawsuit is a consumer class action that alleges that the defective buckles “pose an unreasonable safety hazard to consumers and/or their children because in the event of a vehicle accident it may be imperative to remove the child from the seat belt as quickly as possible to avoid further injury or death.”
The second lawsuit, Ramirez v. State of California, et. Al., alleges that Graco “designed the ‘Nautilus’ car seat with parts that made it extremely difficult to remove a child that was secured in the seat during an emergency.” In Ramirez, two-year-old Leiana Ramirez died in car fire after a vehicular accident while seated in the Graco Nautilus car seat.
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