gracozoomAs we have noted in the past, the buckles Graco has used on many of their carseats were changed a couple years ago.  Many of our readers and forum members have mentioned that the current ones can sometimes be more difficult to buckle and unbuckle than the previous design.  Part of the problems some owners experience appear to develop over time, as the mechanism gets dirty from routine spills, crumbs, dust and other stuff.  A proper cleaning can resolve some of these issues (see below), but Graco has also announced an update to the design being phased-in on various products!

 

The seats that will have the updated buckle include the MyRide 65/70, Size4Me/My Size 70/Head Wise 70 featuring Safety Surround, Nautilus and Argos car seats.

Consumers will begin to the see the updated buckles on some seats at the end of this month.

 

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The change can be seen on the current (left) and updated (right) Graco Nautilus Car Seat above.  It’s no secret that CarseatBlog has often preferred the buckle systems made by IMMI (SafeGuard), and we are very happy to see that Graco will be using them!  Be sure to stay tuned next week for an awesome Graco giveaway at CarseatBlog!

For those having an issue with the buckles on a Graco model they already own, do not despair!  Graco’s great customer service has provided some options for you:

 

Harness Buckle TipsAs parents ourselves, Graco takes great pride in the quality, usability and safety of all our products and always strives to provide products that meet the needs of our consumers.

For our consumers who are experiencing difficulty unbuckling the harness buckles, we have provided tips to help make it easier, which are to:

  1. Lift the lever and pull the shoulder harness straps (refer to Image “g” to the right)
  2. Tilt the top of the buckle toward the child’s abdomen (refer to Image “h” to the right)
  3. Press in at the top of the red button (refer to Image “i” to the right)
  4. Pull tongues out of the buckle (refer to Image “j” to the right)

Also, we have found that sometimes the buckles don’t function as expected because they need to be cleaned.  To clean your buckle, turn the restraint over and push the retainer through the harness strap slot.  Place the buckle in a cup of warm water and gently agitate the buckle, pressing the red button several times while it is in the water.  Do not submerge the harness webbing and do not use soaps or lubricants, only rinse the harness buckle with warm water. Shake out the excess water and allow the harness buckle to air dry. Reattach the harness buckle into the same slot and re-check harness for correct installation according to the car seat manual before use.

 

And last, but definitely not least, Graco adds:

After extensive usability assessments and valuable input from some of our consumers, Graco is converting the harness buckles used on some of our car seats. Graco is committed to an ongoing pursuit of the safest, most effective and easiest to use product technologies. The new harness buckles reflect this commitment.

If you are experiencing difficulty with your current harness buckle and cleaning it has not improved its performance, please contact our Graco customer service team at 800-345-4109.