Is your car seat recalled? What to do, who to contact and when to worry

Recent recalls of millions of car seats have parents wondering if their child’s car seat is safe, and what to do if their car seat is included in a recall.

Keeping your children safe in the car is a priority for parents across the country. When you hear news of car seats being recalled, you might wonder what you can do to find out if your car seat is affected, and if so, what you should do.

According to Michigan State University Extension, the first step parents should take to stay appraised of the recall status of their car seat is to be sure they have mailed in the registration card that came with their seat. If you did not, or if you aren’t sure if you did, you can contact your car seat manufacturer directly over the phone or online to register the seat. They typically will need to know the model number and manufacture date which are located on a sticker on your car seat. They can be found all over the seat, but they are most often on the back or bottom of the seat. Below is contact information for some of the major car seat manufacturers. To find others, visit their product website or search online. Your car seat labels will also contain a phone number for the company.

  • To register a Britax car seat, call 888-427-4826 or visit their product registration website.
  • To register a Dorel Juvenline Group car seat (Safety First, Cosco, Eddie Bauer or Maxi-Cosi) car seat, call 800-544-1108 or visit their product registration website.
  • To register an Evenflo car seat, call 800-233-5921 or visit their product registration website.
  • To register a Graco car seat, call 800-345-4109 or visit their product registration website.

In addition to registering your child’s car seat you should also check to make sure that the car seat does not have an exisiting recall. You will need your car seat make, model number and manufacture date. Then you can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website and search for your child’s car seat.

It is important to know that many recalls do not require you to stop using your child’s car seat. Some recalls are for relatively minor issues, such as an incorrect phone number on a label that would simply require you to adhere a new label. Many others are for repairable issues. Examples of recent repairable recalls include application of a lubricant to the A-lock adjuster and an addition of a reinforced metal bracket on the underside of a seat.

The currect Graco recall effecting over 3.7 million car seats is a recall for a repair. These car seats are not unsafe to use. However, the harness buckles on many of their popular car seats including the Comfort Sport, MyRide, MySize and Nautilus seats, sold from 2009 to 2013, have been found to become progressively difficult to release over time. Consequently, Graco is offering parents and caregivers directions to appropriately clean their harness buckles and free replacement harness buckles if needed. Dozens of complaints were made to the National Highway Safety Adminstration reporting that Graco harness buckles became jammed, resulting in parents being unable to release the buckle and in some instances, requiring parents to cut the harness straps to free their child from the car seat. For more information on the current Graco recall, including which models are effected and directions for how to clean your buckle and/or receive a new buckle, visit their Recall and Safety Notification website. To obtain a new harness buckle or to ask questions about the recall contact Graco customer service at 800-345-4109 or via email, at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Although Graco’s infant only seats, sold under names such as the Snugride, Classic Connect and Click Connect were not recalled, Graco will replace the harness buckles for parents who request a replacement. The NHTSA is requesting that Graco expands the recall to include over 1.8 million of these infant-only seats.

MSU Extension recommends that all parents and caregivers have their car seats checked by a nationally certified child passenger safety technician (CPST). During a car seat check, technicians will look up the car seat on a list of recalls, check for expiration ,and teach parents how to install and use the car seat correctly.  For more information on car seat checks or to find a CPST near you, visit the Safe Kids website.

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