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Child Safety in Maine: Graco Recall of Car Seats

seatbelt-602535-m-2.jpgParents in Maine and other states put their infants and children in car seats as a safety precaution. These safety seats can reduce the incidence of fatality for infants (under age 1) in car accidents by 71%. It reduces toddler fatalities in accidents by 54%. Unfortunately, many people believe that their children are safe, when 7 out of 10 children are, in fact, improperly restrained in their car seats. Graco is one of the more popular brands of child safety seats, and many families in Maine rely on this brand to keep their children safe in the event of a car accident. Recently, Graco announced a recall of 3.7 million of the buckles on their car seats in a variety of models because these buckles are faulty.

Apparently the flaw in the buckles arises when food or dried liquids get embedded and stuck in certain harness buckles. This can make the buckles difficult to open or lock them into the latched position even when trying to release the latch. A problem like this could become problematic if there were an emergency. These buckles are not used on every Graco model; they were the ones manufactured between 2009 and July of 2013. Certain car seats, like the Graco SnugRide, were excluded from the recall because of a unique design.

Many different models of the toddler convertible and harnessed booster car seats were affected, including the Argos 70, Argos 70 Elite, Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, certain My Ride models, Head Wise with Safety Surround and Nautilus models. The buckle types affected are Signature and QT buckles. These are the buckles with rounded red buttons, not the square red button buckles.

It is important to note that there have been no injuries reported in connection with the problem buckles, and Graco’s studies found that there was no impact on the buckle’s performance to properly restrain a child in the event of an accident. In fact, the buckles can be cleaned so that they can continue to be used. You can clean the buckle by pushing the retainer through the harness strap slot and placing the buckle in a cup of warm water, shaking it and pressing the red button several times while it is submerged. Graco advises people not to use soap or lubricant and to let it air dry. The harness buckle must be reattached in the same slot and checked to make sure it complies with the installation instructions in the car seat manual. If you prefer, Graco is also offering a replacement buckle for those consumers that want to obtain one.

In general, it is critical that the buckle on your car seat works. Suppose, for example, that you get into an accident and have to get your child out of his seat quickly. Graco seats do allow you to remove the entire car seat from its base, but if your child were injured and needed CPR or other emergency measures before the emergency responders arrived at the scene, it would be critical to be able to remove your child quickly from the car seat itself. Another issue of note is that many parents have buckled their children into car seats without affixing the car seat to the car. To be protective, the safety seat must be anchored to the car either via a base or by using the seat belt to tether it in place.

If your child is hurt because of a defective car seat, you may need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to aid in recovering the compensation you deserve. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC at (888) 596-1099 or through our website today.

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