NHTSA investigating Graco My Ride and Nautilus car seats for defective latches

Federal transportation officials have identified serious defects with two models of Graco car seats that put children’s lives in danger.

According to a Washington Post report on new documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an increasing number of children have been trapped in a Graco My Ride or Nautilus because a defective latch prevents a person from opening it. These car seats were manufactured by Graco between 2009 and 2011.

Since they’ve been available to consumers, the NHTSA has received 25 reports of consumers who’ve had trouble opening the latch on their Graco car seats. Some consumers say it has required “excessive force” to finally open the latch on these defective car seats. In some cases, the harness had to be cut to free a child from the seat. Six people said they’ve been forced to pull their child from the harness.

These defects could become life-threatening in an emergency, when getting out of a vehicle is imperative. To date, no injuries have been reported along with the reports of product defects, the agency said in its release. That was the fear of one parent who had trouble depressing the latch button the Graco My Ride car seat. Loosening the straps just enough to free that particular child was suitable in that situation but in her report to NHTSA, the mother of the 20-month-old boy who was stuck in the seat said she feared what would happen in an emergency.

Though the highway safety agency did not specify how many of these seats were sold since 2009, it’s likely that thousands are currently in use in Americans’ vehicles, potentially putting that many lives at risk in case of an emergency. The agency said it has not yet decided to issue a recall on the car seats at the focus of its special investigation that was prompted by the numerous defect reports.

This is only the latest consumer product that’s geared to children or for use with children that has been deemed unsafe, and not the first from Graco, which manufactures myriad juvenile products like car seats, high chairs, and other baby seats, swings and the like. Many of the products, ironically, are designed to keep children safe in various situations but their defects put them at serious risk of injuries. NHTSA has requested information from Graco on other products it manufactures with the same or similar harness features as those on the My Ride and Nautilus models.


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