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Merritt Chest Clip Guard & Buckle Guard Review- the end of the line for the carseat escape artist!

I just have to preface this review by saying how thrilled I am that these two products are now available and that they’re made by a trusted and reputable manufacturer of special needs carseats and related products. Merritt Manufacturing produces many of the most widely used carseats for children with special healthcare needs including the Hope Car Bed, The Churchill Booster and the Roosevelt 5-point harness seat. The innovative Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard were originally designed as “escapism prevention” accessories for the Roosevelt. Recently Merritt made them available for purchase separately and for use with conventional carseats. For families with children who continuously escape from their 5-point harness, this is VERY good news.

  

The “Carseat Houdini” presents a huge challenge to safety-minded parents and also to the CPS Techs trying to help these families. I’ve seen parents do some pretty crazy (and creative!) things to try to keep their kid in his or her carseat over the years. I’ve also seen a lot of questionable aftermarket products that target desperate parents who are willing to buy anything when discipline and the usual parenting strategies don’t stop the behavior.

This review covers both of the accessories available from Merritt.

For younger kids who don’t have the thumb strength to actually unbuckle the buckle but rather escape from their seat by pushing the chest clip down and wiggling their arms and shoulders free – the Chest Clip Guard is probably all that is needed. You can use this product if you have a carseat that allows you to detach the harness from the splitter plate. If you just need the Chest Clip Guard – it should work with most current seats including the Diono Radian models, Evenflo Mastro, Evenflo Secure Kid, Graco Nautilus, etc. It won’t work with seats like the Evenflo Symphony, Evenflo Triumph or Chicco NextFit because those carseats either don’t have a splitter plate or it’s inaccessible.

Merritt Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard  Merritt Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard

For Britax seats with rubber HUGS pads – the HUGS will have to be removed. I know that’s a conflict with the instruction manual but in these cases the parent has to decide if the benefits of using the Chest Clip Guard outweigh any potential risks of using the seat without the HUGS pads. I think it’s important to point out that most kids riding in a Britax convertible with HUGS are not anywhere near the maximum weight limit of 65-70 lbs. and that the Roundabout 55 (rated to 55 lbs.) does not have HUGS. Along the same lines, the Britax Pioneer 70 harness-2-booster combination seat is rated to 70 lbs. and doesn’t have HUGS pads either.

The Chest Clip Guard $49.95

Merritt Chest Clip Guard  Merritt Chest Clip Guard

The Chest Clip Guard is truly a brilliant concept. The idea is so simple and yet so effective. I’m just mad that I didn’t think of it first. It’s an attachment to the harness with height-adjustable harness pads that hold a lockable chest clip in a fixed position. The harness pads are attached to each other via a piece of webbing that goes behind the child’s neck. The chest clip can also be locked by using the “key” tool that comes with product. If you lose the key, it’s not a big deal because it’s not really a key and you can insert a variety of different things (including a regular house key or car key) to operate the locking mechanism inside the chest clip. A buckle tongue from the buckle on the carseat harness will do the trick too.

Plastic "key" to lock Chest Clip Guard

Plastic “key” to lock Chest Clip Guard

This video explains how the Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard function.

 

The Buckle Guard $29.95

    

IMMI buckleAs I explained in the video – the Buckle Guard can ONLY be used with the IMMI buckle (pictured right). FYI – the buckles used on the current Diono Radian models look similar to the IMMI buckle because it also has a square release button but upon close inspection you’ll see that it’s not the same buckle. This guard will NOT work with the current Diono buckle.

Once the Buckle Guard is attached, it cannot be removed without carefully prying it off with a flat head screwdriver. Once the Buckle Guard has been removed it must be discarded. Therefore this is a product that is intended to remain on the buckle until it is no longer needed.

If you need the Buckle Guard for a seat you already own or if you’re in the market for a new carseat that can accommodate the Buckle Guard – below is a list of higher-weight harness carseats that are currently sold with an IMMI buckle:

Manufacturer Models with IMMI buckle
Britax All convertible seats: Roundabout/Marathon/Boulevard/Pavilion/Advocate
Britax All Harness-2-Booster Combination Seats: Pioneer 70/Frontier 90/Pinnacle 90
Chicco NextFit convertible (NOT suitable for Chest Clip Guard)
Clek Foonf convertible
Evenflo Symphony convertible (NOT suitable for Chest Clip Guard)
Graco New MyRide and Size4Me/My Size/Head Wise convertibles
Graco New Nautilus and Argos combination seats
Maxi-Cosi Pria convertibles
Orbit Baby Toddler Seat convertible
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio convertible
Recaro ProRIDE and Performance Ride convertibles
Recaro Performance Sport combination
The First Years All True Fit convertible models

 

Chest Clip Guard & Buckle Guard Combo $79.90

If you need both the Chest Clip Guard and the Buckle Guard accessories for your talented escape artist, that will narrow down the choices since you need a carseat with an IMMI buckle that also gives you access to the splitter plate so you can remove the existing chest clip and attach the guard in its place. Again, I’m only going to list model with a higher-weight harness because Houdini kids benefit from staying in a 5-point harness beyond 40 lbs.

For children with special needs who will likely benefit from the Chest Clip Guard and the Buckle Guard for an extended period of time, the Britax Frontier 90 and Pinnacle 90 offer the highest weight and height limits of any conventional carseats currently on the market. However, both the Frontier and the Pinnacle come with HUGS pads on the harness and technically Britax requires their usage. Use of the chest clip guard necessitates the removal of the HUGS pads so that will have to be a “parental decision”. My personal feeling is that having an older child with special needs who continuously escapes from the carseat while the car is moving presents a much greater risk than the potential risk of using a Britax seat without the HUGS pads. However, as a CPS Technician I cannot recommend that a parent go against the carseat manufacturer’s instructions. The updated Britax Pioneer 70 (no HUGS pads; rated to 70 lbs. and now with 19.5″ top harness slots) would be a reasonable compromise if the child is slender and likely to outgrow the harness by height before hitting the 70 lbs. weight limit.

CRs that can accommodate both Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard 
Manufacturer Model
Britax All convertible seats: Roundabout/Marathon/Boulevard/Pavilion/Advocate
Britax All Harness-2-Booster Combination Seats: Pioneer 70/Frontier 90/Pinnacle 90
Clek Foonf convertible
Graco MyRide and Size4Me/MySize/Head Wise convertibles
Graco Nautilus and Argos combination seats
Maxi-Cosi Pria convertibles
Orbit Baby Toddler Seat convertible
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio convertible
Recaro ProRIDE and Performance Ride convertibles
Recaro Performance Sport combination
The First Years All True Fit convertible models

 

The Bottom Line

The Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard products can be a lifesaver (literally!) for parents with children who are persistent escape artists that do not respond to typical parenting tips and tricks. These accessory products are well-designed and come from a reputable carseat manufacturer that knows how to think outside of the box – safely. That doesn’t mean that the other CR manufacturers are going to give their blessing to using these accessories with their products – that’s probably asking too much. However, these niche products fill a serious hole in the market and the reasonable prices make them a realistic option for most families. I’m beyond thrilled that there are legitimate products on the market now that I can feel comfortable recommending for children with special needs and also occasionally for the very stubborn and determined 2 year old who just doesn’t respond to the usual suggestions that we tend to give parents in these situations.

For more information on the Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard see the manufacturer’s website:  http://www.escapeproof.net

 

Thank you Merritt Manufacturing for supplying the Chest Clip Guard and Buckle Guard samples for this review. No other compensation was received and the comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Recaro ProSPORT Recall Coming? FMVSS 213 Noncompliance

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they have denied a petition from RECARO Child Safety, LLC and that denial will likely result in a “remedy” or recall on all Recaro ProSPORT models in the near future. In the notice, only the original Recaro ProSPORT model was cited by NHTSA for having a performance-related compliance issue. The newer Recaro ProSport II and Recaro Performance Sport models were not included. Recaro Child Safety informs us that they are awaiting approval from NHTSA to proceed with a response to consumers. In the meantime, we want to assure parents that there are easy ways to avoid any possible risk indicated by NHTSA.

Potentially affected are 39,181 ProSPORT models manufactured between June 16, 2010 (inception) and Jan 31, 2013 (when production ended). Again, ProSport II and Performance Sport models are NOT affected, as we are told these newer models were introduced after a design change effective from February 1, 2013. The updated Performance Sport model continues to be one of our Recommended Carseats.

According to NHTSA, the ProSPORT model is not passing FMVSS 213 standards for head excursion limits when tested with the 6 year old dummy (which weighs 52 lbs.) if the seat is installed with just the lower LATCH anchors and is NOT tethered. This testing scenario actually conflicts with Recaro’s installation instructions which mandate that you discontinue using LATCH and switch to a lap/shoulder belt installation once the child weighs 52 lbs. Regardless, the standard is the standard and all carseats are required to pass the testing as it is specified in the standard. Just because a CR manufacturer states a specific LATCH limit or mandates a particular type of installation or belt routing does not exempt them from the requirements of FMVSS 213. In this case, Safety Standard 213 requires all forward-facing harnessed seats that are rated beyond 40 lbs. must pass minimum crash testing standards with both the 3-year-old dummy and the 6-year-old dummy, both with and without the use of the tether. With a tether, the dummy’s head excursion must not exceed 720 mm during the crash test. Without the tether, the dummy’s head excursion must not exceed 813 mm.  According to NHTSA, the ProSPORT had a head excursion measurement of 907 mm in their compliance test.

What does this mean for parents or caregivers who own a ProSPORT model?

  • If you are using this carseat in high-back booster mode (without the 5-point harness), then this type of use is not included in this notification.  Continue using your ProSport as a booster according to the instruction manual,  until we know more.
  • Similarly, if you use a lap/shoulder belt for installation with the 5-point harness, with or without the top tether, then this type of use is also not included in this notification and we believe this is an acceptable method of installation until we know more. Recaro instructions indicate that beyond 52 lbs. you must detach the tether and use the lap/shoulder belt alone for installation.
  • If you are using your Recaro ProSport in 5-point harness mode, using the top tether along with a lap-only seatbelt or lower LATCH anchors, according to the instruction manual, then your child will be well-protected and you should continue to use your seat with the top tether until we have more information.
  • If you are using your Recaro ProSport in 5-point harness mode for a child under 52 lbs. and have installed it with the lower anchors but are NOT using the top tether, then you should simply attach the top tether to an approved tether anchor if at all possible.  Use of the top tether resolves the non-compliance issue for installations with lower anchors up to 52 lbs.  All seating positions with lower anchors have a top tether as well, though you may need to check your vehicle owner’s manual if the location of the top tether is not obvious.
  • For the uncommon situation of a ProSport installed with just a lap belt or lower LATCH anchors without a top tether, and a tether is not available, you have the option to switch to a seating position that has a lap/shoulder belt or use the seat in booster mode (which also requires a lap/shoulder belt) until a remedy is provided.  We suggest children remain in a 5-point harness until they are at least 4 years and 40 lbs in general.

Again, this performance issue identified by NHTSA applies to installation with lower LATCH anchors ONLY, when not using the top tether.  It is fine to continue using your ProSport according to our suggestions above, until we learn more from NHTSA and Recaro.

It is important to point out that NHTSA doesn’t test harnessed seats with a lap/shoulder belt.

Evenflo Buckle Recall: Convertible and Combination Harnessed/Booster Seats

Recalled “QT” Buckle

After the recent Graco recall of the same AmSafe “QT” buckle, we figured it was only a matter of time until Evenflo recalled their convertible and combination seats with the same buckle. That recall will be officially announced by NHTSA sometime later today. The good news is that Evenflo already stopped using those QT buckles so most Evenflo products with a recent DOM (Date of Manufacture) shouldn’t be affected by this recall.

Evenflo carseats NOT affected by this recall include Tribute, Triumph and Titan 50. Evenflo infant seats are also not included in this recall.

NHTSA finally announced the recall and stated that Evenflo is voluntarily recalling more than 1.3 million carseats for buckles that could increase the risk of injury if the child could not be removed quickly in an emergency. ”The buckle may become stuck in a latched position, making it difficult to remove a child from the seat. This could prove critical to a child’s safety in the case of an emergency.”

evenflo

Model Name Model # Starts With Affected Dates
Chase LX and Chase DLX  (Original Chase model) 329 8/23/2011 through 3/3/2014
Chase / Chase LX / Chase Select (New Chase model) 306 6/12/2012 through 10/3/2013
Maestro / Maestro Performance 310 8/22/2011 through 10/17/2013
Momentum 65 / Momentum 65 LX  and Momentum 65 DLX 385 3/4/2013 through 8/26/2013
Secure Kid LX / Secure Kid DLX / Secure Kid 100 / Secure Kid 300 / Secure Kid 400 and Snugli Booster 308 12/13/2011 through 3/3/2014
Symphony (all models) 345 or 346 10/2/2012 through 8/26/2013
SureRide and Titan 65 371 6/20/2012 through 10/17/2013
www.CarseatBlog.com    ©2014 All Rights Reserved

 Keller 65 DLX65Evenflo SureRide

What you need to know if you have a recalled model:

The “fix” for the recall is a different buckle. Registered owners will receive a letter notifying them that their seat is affected and directing them to call customer service (aka ParentLink) or visit www.buckle.evenflo.com to order the replacement buckle. If you already know you have a recalled model CLICK ON THIS LINK to order your replacement buckle(s). You will need the model number and Date of Manufacturer (DOM) of your seat.

The model number and DOM can be found on a white sticker. If your carseat is installed you will have to uninstall it to find the white sticker – it is usually on the back or the bottom of the shell. Your sticker probably looks something like this:

Evenflo DOM Sticker - recall info

 

Official Buckle Recall Information from Evenflo (including contact info, buckle cleaning tips, buckle replacement instructions and videos) can be found here:  www.buckle.evenflo.com

Statement from Evenflo:

Dear Safety Advocates:

Thank you for being a trusted partner and helping Evenflo keep children safe!  As you know, we have a 90 year history of putting safety and consumers above everything else and appreciate your partnership in doing this.

On Friday, April 4th, Evenflo will announce a voluntary recall of select convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats due to an issue in the harnessed crotch buckle.  The buckles meet all requirements for crashworthiness, but may become resistant to unlatching over time due to contaminants (like food and drink) that are present in everyday use by toddlers.  Evenflo is taking this proactive, preventive action to address an issue that was recently observed by NHTSA.

Our goal is to make this experience as easy for the consumer as possible and we will be sending replacement buckles to consumers and developing videos to show them how to install the new buckle.   While consumers wait for their buckles, we are recommending that they clean the buckles thoroughly, as instructed on the back of the buckle, if they are experiencing any issues.  All relevant information can be found at www.buckle.evenflo.com

Evenflo has worked to put the needs of our consumers first and hope that we can count on your support as we work through this issue and continue to strive for excellence as we build our products for the future.

FYI – Only the “QT” buckle (pictured above) is recalled. The buckles pictured below are NOT included in this recall so if your Evenflo convertible or combination harness/booster seat has a buckle that looks like either of these – don’t worry about it, it’s fine.

Evenflo Buckle – NOT Recalled

 

Evenflo Buckle – NOT Recalled

 

The Safest Infant Carseats? New Crash Protection Ratings and Methods from Consumer Reports

The Safest Infant Carseats:  Best, Better or Basic?  How does your infant seat compare?

Today, Consumer Reports released the first round of ratings using their new test methodology for evaluating infant child seats. With cautious optimism, we feel this is likely to be a big step forward and should help parents to compare the crash safety of carseats. In the long term, like the NHTSA 5-star ratings and IIHS Best Pick ratings for automobiles, more rigorous testing can often lead to better product designs in the future. Though many of us in the Child Passenger Safety industry have had our concerns about previous ratings, there are definitely improvements that were made over the last few years.

The new Consumer Reports carseat crash test was developed to be more rigorous than federal standards. CR realizes that all carseats meet basic safety standards and wanted to develop a test to determine which seats provide an extra level of protection. This new test was designed by an automotive safety engineer and peer-reviewed by an independent crash testing expert with 40 years of experience in the field. It is conducted on an actual contemporary vehicle seat (a 2010 Ford Flex 2nd row seat) with a floor below it, unlike the government test which has a 70’s era back seat test bench with no floor. There’s a front seat back, called the blocker plate, installed in front of the test seat to simulate a front seat, which is used to test potential injury, and the speed of the test is set at 35 mph. Testing is performed at an independent, outside testing facility. The new crash test ratings scale will no longer use the circular blobs, but will instead indicate “basic,” “better,” or “best” at providing crash protection above and beyond baseline standards.

test buck showing floor test buck K
CR’s New Test Bench in Their Offices

graco test bench
FMVSS 213 Test Bench

When we visited CR last November, our hosts were warm and welcoming and the feeling in the building was so relaxed. They don’t hide in public: we’ve met each other in passing at conferences, but it’s always been quick handshakes and “Hi, bye, we’ve got to get together,” kind of conversations. You know the kind. Visiting their testing facility gave us a chance to see the inner workings and for them to have the transparency they were eager to share with the CPS community. Let’s call it like it is: they’re intelligent, highly qualified people and know they receive a lot of criticism, but they’re proud of the work they do and feel they provide a valuable service to their readers.

Nobody wants the kind of publicity they had in 2007 when the methodology they used in running their side-impact crash test for carseats was flawed and most carseats failed catastrophically. It took CR a lot of time and effort to overcome that incident; they’ve since hired a dedicated automotive safety engineer whose sole responsibility is to develop the carseat testing protocol and work on their child passenger safety team.

The test bench (buck) was right there to see and photograph—there was no way to hide it, unless they wanted to throw a big tarp over it.  They were eager to answer all our questions, from their methodology regarding how they arrived at their ratings to how they ate lunch every day. They were also very interested in our feedback. And since one of us isn’t the quiet type, we shared. It was a great day of getting to know each other and our processes.

Will this new crash test bring to light issues we haven’t seen before? Is the test buck too stiff? How will this affect buyers in the market for an infant seat right now? How will this affect parents and caregivers currently using an infant seat that only rates a “basic” rating? In this instance, time will tell. In the meantime, we have the results to share with you.

The Ratings: What Parents Need to Know:

Below is a table of models listed alphabetically, grouped within their Crash Protection ratings that are based on the new frontal crash testing system developed by CR. Safer models that perform well in this more severe testing receive a “Better” or “Best” crash protection rating to indicate a potential extra margin of safety over the minimum government requirements. Models that are less likely to offer that added margin of safety over the minimum standards are still safe, but receive a “Basic” rating. CR also issued a separate overall score*, based on these crash protection ratings and other factors like fit to vehicle and ease of use.

Not surprisingly, their top overall performer (crash protection and other factors combined) was also one of our Recommended Carseats, the Chicco Keyfit 30 (and Keyfit 22). Other current models with high combined overall scores that appear on CarseatBlog’s recommended lists or that we have reviewed favorably for other factors like low birthweight newborn fit include the Britax B-Safe, the Safety 1st OnBoard Air 35 and the UPPAbaby MESA. We continue to highly recommend all of these infant seats.

 - stock - blue

For lower priced models, they offered a few “Best Bets,” including the Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus, the Graco Snugride 30 Classic Connect and the Safety 1st OnBoard 35. We also like these models as budget-friendly choices.

Other models with above average combined overall scores include the Maxi-Cosi Mico, Combi Shuttle, Cybex Aton 2, the First Years Via 35 I470 and the similar First Years Contigo.

- stock blue

We note that the Cybex Aton 2, “Performed better than any of the models in our new crash performance test,“  likely due to an innovative load leg – a feature shared only by the new Nuna Pipa (not tested) and the soon-to-be-released Cybex Aton Q.  This load leg cannot be used on the standard NHTSA crash test sled, as the sled does not have a floor like the one on the sled that Consumer Reports developed for this new crash test.

Infant Carseat Model CR Crash Protection Rating
Britax B-Safe BEST
Chicco KeyFit (22 lbs.) BEST
Chicco KeyFit 30 BEST
Cosco Comfy Carry BEST
Cybex Aton 2 (tested with load leg) BEST
Evenflo Secure Ride 35 BEST
Graco SnugRide 30 Classic Connect BEST
Maxi-Cosi Mico BEST
Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite BEST
Safety 1st Comfy Carry Elite Plus BEST
Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air BEST
The First Years Contigo BEST
The First Years Via I-470 BEST
Baby Trend Flex-Loc Adjustable Back BETTER
Baby Trend Inertia BETTER
Britax Chaperone BETTER
Cybex Aton BETTER
Combi Shuttle BETTER
Evenflo Discovery 5 (discontinued) BETTER
Evenflo Nurture BETTER
Graco SnugRide 35 Classic Connect BETTER
Graco SnugRide 35 Click Connect BETTER
Graco SnugRide 40 Click Connect BETTER
Mia Moda Certo BETTER
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 BETTER
Safety 1st onBoard 35 BETTER
Summer Infant Prodigy BETTER
Teutonia T-Tario 35 BETTER
UPPAbaby Mesa BETTER
Evenflo Embrace 35 (Select) BASIC
Graco SnugRide Classic Connect (original – 22 lbs.) BASIC
Maxi-Cosi Prezi BASIC
Orbit Baby Infant Carseat G2 BASIC
Snugli Infant Carseat BASIC  
www.CarseatBlog.com  ©2014 All Rights Reserved

As we said to start, we have cautious optimism that this new testing protocol will prove to be fair and reliable, but we reserve final judgment until the results have been more thoroughly vetted by industry experts.  Like many parents, advocates and experts, we have had our share of criticism for past Consumer Reports ratings.  With this new testing, we hope their results will eventually be accepted as a reliable source of comparative information on carseats for consumers.  So what do you think?  Fair or unfair?  Long overdue or unnecessary?  Trustworthy or not?  We appreciate all your comments!

Please stay tuned for some more in-depth commentary on their methods and results!

Consumer Reports also provides Five Tips for Parents to follow to make sure their infant is safe when they travel in the car. We agree these are important tips to follow.

CR’s Five Important Tips for Parents:

• Don’t wait until the last minute to install the car seat. When you’re expecting a baby,there are many things that have to be done, but don’t leave the car seat installation until the last minute. The best way to make sure the seat is installed correctly and that you know how to properly secure your baby in the seat is to take the time to get familiar with the seat and its instructions and to go to a car seat check up event hosted by safekids.org.  A Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician will help you make sure the seat is properly installed and teach you the dos and don’ts of car seat safety.

• Do not put bulky blankets or coats inside the harness. Swaddling is a common practice with infants, but when placing your baby in an infant seat, it is very important that the harness is snug enough against the baby’s lightly clothed body. No harness webbing should be able to be pinched between the thumb and forefinger. Tightening the harness straps over swaddling blankets or puffy clothing can leave undetected slack in the harness, which can lead to an increased chance of injury, or even ejection from the seat during a crash. For extra warmth, tighten the harness first and then place the jacket or blanket on top of the child and harness.

• Position the harness straps correctly. The proper positioning for the harness straps for a rear-facing child is at or below the shoulders. This will prevent the child from moving upward in the seat in the event of a crash. It is also important to check the straps often since kids grow quickly. Consequently, the harness may need to be frequently adjusted.

• Position the chest clip correctly. The purpose of the chest clip is to keep the harness in the correct position right before a crash. Technicians often see the chest clip positioned either too low, which can result in shoulder straps not fitting correctly, or too high, which can cause breathing issues. The proper place for the chest clip is at armpit level.

• Pay attention to your child’s height as well as weight. A child that is too tall for their car seat is at an increased risk of head injury during a crash. All car seats have a height AND weight limit. According to the CDC growth charts, a child is actually more likely to outgrow many infant car seats in height before they reach the maximum weight limit of the seat, so be sure to pay attention to your child’s height relative to the shell of the seat and compare it to the height limit of the car seat.

Stay tuned to CarseatBlog for continued coverage and commentary on this story! We’ll have more to say in the coming days.

*The full results and ratings, including the overall score earned by each infant seat tested, are available online to CR subscribers.

 

Graco Expands Buckle Recall to Include Additional Convertible & Combination Seats

If you are the owner of a Graco convertible or combination seat that has one of the recalled buckle designs pictured below, and your carseat was not included in the initial recall period because it was made either before or after the initial recall period of January 2009 – July 2013, please note that your seat is now included in this expanded recall.

From Graco:

“To alleviate any additional concerns, Graco has decided to include the harness buckles used on all toddler convertible car seats and harnessed boosters manufactured from 2006 through 2009 in its recent recall. For any concerned parent or guardian, we will continue to offer a replacement harness buckle at no cost. Consumers can place their order online at GracoBuckleRecall.com and  can continue to use their car seat while waiting for the new buckle. We want to stress that our car seats are safe and effective in restraining children. For additional questions, consumers can contact our customer service team at 800-345-4109 or consumerservices@gracobaby.com.”

MODEL NAME                     AFFECTED DATES

Argos 70

Argos 70 Elite

5/1/2011 through 7/31/2013

Classic Ride 50 10/1/2011 through 9/30/2013
Comfort Sport

Ready Ride

10/1/2010 through 9/30/2013
Cozy Cline

Step 2

1/1/2006 through 4/30/2010
My Ride 65

My Ride 65 with Safety Surround

4/1/2009 through 7/31/2013; and 9/30/2013
My Ride 70 5/1/2012 through 7/31/2013
My Size 70

Size 4 Me 70

Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround

1/1/2012 through 7/31/2013; and 8/3/2013
Nautilus 3-in-1

Nautilus Plus

Nautilus Elite

10/1/2007 through 7/31/2013; and 8/19/2013
Smart Seat

Smart Seat with Safety Surround

12/1/2010 through 9/30/2013; and 10/9/2013, 12/25/2013, 1/10/2014

From NHTSA: 

On March 7, 2014, Graco informed NHTSA it would be including an additional 403,222 seats in this recall, including certain model year 2006 through 2014 Argos 70 Elite, Ready Ride, Step 2, My Ride 65 with Safety Surround, My Size 70, Head Wise 70 with Safety Surround, Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Plus, and Smart Seat with Safety Surround. The defect involves difficulty in unlatching the harness buckle. In some cases, the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to remove the child from the restraint, increasing the risk of injury in the event of a vehicle crash, fire, or other emergency, in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required. Graco is offering to replace the buckle with a new design, free of charge. Registered owners will be notified beginning around early April 2014, and offered the free replacement buckle. All other owners may contact Graco at 1-800-345-4109 (toll-free) or 1-330-869-7225, or online at www.consumerservices@gracobaby.com.