For the second time in three years, Graco is recalling one of its car seats. Yesterday, the baby products company announced the recall of more than 25,000 My Ride 65 convertible seats due to faulty harness webbing that may not safely hold a child during a crash. In 2014, Graco issued the largest car seat recall in U.S. history (more than 6 million seats) ⏤ the result of malfunctioning harness buckles that wouldn’t unlatch. They were later fined $10 million by the federal government for failing to bring the issue to the public’s attention sooner.
The current recall affects 25,494 seats produced between May 16, 2014 through August 1, 2014 with model numbers 1871689, 1908152, 1813074, 1872691, 1853478, 1877535, 1813015, and 1794334. According to the official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report: “In the event of a serious motor vehicle crash, the harness webbing restraining the child may break resulting in a child not being properly restrained. As such, these car seats fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 213, ‘Child Restraint Systems.’”
While the report notes that only 10 percent of the seats are likely defective ⏤ the result of a bad batch of webbing, says Graco — the company will begin contacting customers immediately and providing free replacement kits with new harness restraints. To identify whether a seat is subject to the recall, owners can check the model number, date of manufacture, and webbing tag code on a white label under the back of the seat. If affected, they can place an order for the replacement kit here or by calling 1-800-345-4109.
In the meantime, the seats are reportedly safe to use while waiting for the new parts. According to Graco: “After discussions with NHTSA, the determination was made that the car seat could still be used. The compliance failure during the static pull test of the harness restraint was just below the limit and doesn’t pose a safety hazard. The static pull test represents force well beyond what is found in even the most severe automobile accident.”
The incident does, however, once again serve as a good reminder why mailing in car-seat registration cards is so important. According to a recent survey, only 42 percent of owners do so.
Graco is no stranger to recalls. In addition to the 2014 incident ⏤ in which the My Ride 65 was also included ⏤ the company has been tagged for a number of violations since 2003, according to the NHTSA’s Child Seat Recall Campaign Listing. Other investigations included carriers with deteriorating backing materials, untested foam padding, and bases that didn’t properly attach. Not to mention a handful of seats that were missing labels and/or were mislabeled with instructions that, if followed, could cause injury to a child in the event of a crash.
And that’s just car seats. In 2010, the company recalled two million strollers after four deaths were reported when unbelted kids suffered head injuries. And in 2014, five million Graco baby strollers were recalled after kids had their fingertips lopped off by the stroller’s hinges.
Graco’s reputation took a hit after the 2014 recall, but the company has been regaining consumers’ confidence. While it’s unclear how this latest incident will affect that trust, one thing is certain: one of America’s largest manufacturers of baby gear again finds itself in the hot seat.