Graco fined $10 million for delaying infant seat recall

ASSOCIATED PRESS — Graco Children’s Products is recalling 1.9 million infant car seats, bowing to demands from U.S. safety regulators, in what is now the largest seat recall in American history.
The recall, announced Tuesday, comes after a five-month spat between Graco and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Earlier this year the company recalled 4.2 million toddler seats because the harness buckles can get stuck. But

If your car seat currently has one of these buckles, it is not included in this recall. Buckles come in both black and gray. (Credit: Graco)
If your car seat currently has one of these
buckles, it is not included in this recall. Buckles come in both black and gray.
(Credit: Graco)

it resisted the agency’s demand to recall the infant seats.

Last week, Graco was fined $10 million for failure to provide timely notification of a defect in more than 4 million car seats.
Buckles on the car seats can get gummed up by food and drinks, and that could make it hard to remove children. In some cases parents had to cut harnesses to get their kids out. The agency says that increases the risk of injuries in emergencies.
Graco argued that infant seats are used differently, and in an emergency, an adult can remove the whole seat rather than using the buckle.
When Graco announced the initial recall in February, NHTSA sent the company a sternly worded letter questioning why the infant seats weren’t included. The agency said parents have filed complaints with the agency and the company about stuck buckles on the infant seats.
The letter also accused the company of soft-pedaling the recall with “incomplete and misleading” documents that will be seen by consumers. The agency threatened civil penalties.
Infant-seat models covered by Tuesday’s recall include the SnugRide, SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35), SnugRide 30, SnugRide 35, SnugRide Click Connect 40, and Aprica A30. They were manufactured between July 2010 and May 2013, according to NHTSA.
Graco will replace the buckles for free. The company says owners can check to see if their seats are included by going to GracoBuckleRecall.com or by calling (877) 766-7470.