Graco is recalling nearly 3.8 million car seats because children can become trapped after the buckle jams, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recall notice issued this week.
The company is currently issuing recalls on 11 models, but additional models made with the same buckle are being investigated by the NHTSA at this time.
The initial investigation began after 25 reports from consumers alleged that they had difficulty unlatching the harness buckle on the child seat. An additional 55 reports were received during the investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported.
The push button on the harness sticks in some cases after a buildup of food or dried liquid occurs, Graco reported, causing the parent to not be able to unlatch the buckle, and in some cases were forced to remove the child either by pulling them through the still buckled harness or cutting the straps.
This could cause the child to get stuck in the vehicle in an emergency, such as an accident or vehicle fire, where exited the vehicle quickly is necessary.
On Graco's website, the company "stresses this does not in any way affect the performance of the car seat or the effectiveness of the buckle to restrain the child."
According to papers filed with the NHTSA, the buckles in question were fabricated by AmSafe Commercial Products Inc. of Elkhart, Ind.
The seat models included in the recall are toddler convertible car seats: Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat; and harnessed booster seats: Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite and Argos. The models were sold between 2009 and July 2013.
The NHTSA is continuing its investigation of the company's SnugRide infant seats.
To rectify the problem, Graco will provide new replacement buckle at no cost.
If you are experiencing difficulty with the harness buckle and cleaning has not improved the performance, contact Graco customer service Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., at 800-345-4109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on cleaning the buckle or instruction to replace the buckle, visit www.gracobaby.com