Every day, hundreds of thousands of parents across the nation go through the ritual of making sure that their children are safely buckled in their car seats and that the car seat itself is firmly secured inside the vehicle. This important step gives already anxious parents peace of mind in knowing that their child is protected in the event of a motor vehicle accident or other traffic-related incident.
Given how much parents rely on these devices, it's understandable how news of a massive recall covering millions of car seats could prove to be upsetting.
Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened earlier this week when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that Graco was voluntarily recalling 3.7 million car seats spanning 11 of 18 models.
As it stands, this is the fourth largest car seat recall ever recorded. However, it should be noted that the NHTSA actually wants the company to recall another 1.8 million car seats and that if this actually happens -- Graco is currently resisting this request -- it would become the single largest car seat recall ever recorded.
What exactly is the issue?
According to Graco, the recall centers around the harness buckles found on all harnessed booster seats and toddler convertible car seats manufactured between 2009 and July 2013.
Here, the problem is that the red harness release button can become covered in food and dried liquid over the course of time such that the harness buckles can become "progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position."
The NHTSA has indicated that this is problematic as it makes it considerably more difficult or even impossible to remove the child from the car seat in the event of an emergency.
Graco has indicated that new and improved replacement buckles can be acquired by customers at no charge and that no injuries have been reported in connection with the recall. In fact, the company also noted that the issue doesn't affect performance of the car seat and that parents can continue to use them.
For their part, however, the NHTSA is recommending that anyone in possession of one of the affected car seats should consider using a safe substitution for transporting their children until such time as their Graco car seat is fixed.
Stay tuned for developments ...
It's important to remember that you can seek justice if a dangerous or defective children's product has caused your family immeasurable harm. Consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn more about your rights and your options.
Source: CNN, "3.7 million Graco car seats recalled due to buckle issue," Greg Botelho and Mike Ahlers, Feb. 12, 2014