Britax to recall 213,000 child safety seats

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Britax Child Safety Inc. said Friday it will recall 213,000 child safety seats with buttons that could fail and allow the shoulder harness to loosen.

The recall covers some Advocate ClickTight, Boulevard ClickTight and Maraton ClickTight child seats. The seats were built between August 2014 and July 29. Owners will receive a remedy kit that includes a lubricant to apply to the harness adjuster button. The recall will begin Aug. 17.

Unlike auto recalls, child safety seat owners are often much harder to find — especially if owners didn’t fill out consumer warranty cards when they purchased the seats.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been spending an increasing amount of time reviewing child safety seats.

In March, NHTSA announced that Graco Children's Products Inc. had been fined $10 million after it failed to recall more than 4 million child seats in a timely fashion.

In total, Graco recalled more than 6.1 million child seats that have buckles that could become difficult to open.

Graco agreed under government pressure to replace buckles that could be difficult to open after toddlers spill milk or other liquids. The company also said it would offer a replacement buckle to any consumer who owns one of 2.3 million child seats not included in the recall, but wants an updated buckle, under a customer service campaign.

In February 2014, Graco — a division of Newell Rubbermaid — agreed to recall 3.77 million toddler and booster seats built in 2009-13 under pressure from NHTSA. The agency formally asked Graco in January to recall 5.6 million car seats. Graco expanded the recall in March to add another 400,000 seats built before 2009.

Evenflo Company Inc. said in April it has agreed to recall the 1.37 million seats after NHTSA opened an investigation.

This means more than 10 million car seats produced by Graco or Evenflo have now been recalled or are subject to a customer service campaign. It now ranks as one of the largest recalls for car seats in U.S. history.

NHTSA said in a statement that "stuck buckles create the potential for a parent, caregiver or emergency responder to not be able to quickly remove the child from the car seat in the event of a crash or other emergency situation. Consumers are urged to contact Graco to get the free replacement buckle as soon as possible."

Graco said initially in February it was recalling the Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride with Safety Surround, My Ride 70, Size 4 Me 70, Smartseat, Nautilus, Nautilus Elite and Argos 70 models. Graco said the alleged defect involves difficulty in depressing the red button that unlatches the harness buckle. It said no injuries have been reported in connection with the new recall.