Graco Car Seat Recall and the 65 Pound Latch Rule

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Listen up owners of Graco car seats: Graco has recalled 400,000 car seats due to the car seat buckle mechanism being hard or impossible to unlatch.

Models currently under recall include: Toddler Convertible Car Seats, Cozy Cline, Comfort Sport, Classic Ride 50, My Ride 65, My Ride 70, Size4Me 70, My Size 70, Head Wise 70, Smart Seat, harnessed Booster Seats, Nautilus 3-in-1, Nautilus Elite, Nautilus Plus, Argos, Argos 70 Elite, Ready Ride and Step 2.

Graco is offering “new and improved” replacement buckles to customers at no cost. Call 1-800-345-4109 or email consumerservices@gracobaby.com for information.

And in other child safety seat news: the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration recently announced a 65-pound LATCH rule for child car safety seats.

The LATCH system certain makes it easier to install a car seat, but it seems LATCH systems may not be the safest or strongest hold for your child. If you have a child who rides in a car seat, the seatbelt may be the safter way to fasten in the child safety seat if your child’s weight combined with the weight of the seat is over 65 pounds.

The new recommendation comes after auto manufacturers announced concerns that LATCH systems could hold more than 65 pounds if various accident scenarios.

Julie Vallese, consumer safety expert with the Dorel Juvenile Group says installations with the belt or installations with LATCH are equally acceptable. However, car seats should not be installed using both methods at the same time. No matter what method is chosen be sure to finish off the installation by using the top tether.

Here is a breakdwon of the new rules for car seats using LATCH require understanding of your car seat’s weight and child’s weight:
• Car seats manufactured after February 27, 2014 are required to carry a new label with guidance on maximum weight limits for LATCH
• The combined weight should not exceed 65 pounds
• Look in the manual and label on the car seat to identify the weight of the seat
• Look for a weight on the maximum weight for the child
• Know your child’s weight
• If the combined weight of the seat and your child exceeds 65 pounds, install the car seat using the vehicle’s belt

For a new parent – and even a one who has much practice – installing a car seat can be one of the most frustrating and confusing things. Lucky for those of us in the Charlotte area, car seat manufacturer Britax gives back to the community by providing free car seat checks throughout the year at the Britax Fort Mill facility

For more guidance on proper car seat installation, go to seatcheck.org.