My car is disgusting. Well, the backseat is – I keep Armor-All wipes up front so I can keep the part of the car that I see regularly actually looking like an area that hasn’t devolved into a mess of Cheerios, sticky juice stains and dirt. My backseat gets a good once-over occasionally – but not as often as it should. I’ve always just brushed it off as yet another thing that is impossible to keep clean when you have kids. Another carseat recall is proving that it may actually be dangerous to let things get too messy in the backseat.
Evenflo Company Inc. is voluntarily recalling more than 1.3 million child safety seat buckles due to the risk children could not be removed quickly in an emergency. This may sound familiar, Graco had a similar recall recently – the largest one ever. They recalled over four million seats. Both companies are willingly sending out replacement buckles – as they should. My only question is – how do you make a buckle that is resistant to grime and food particles? Is it even possible? Do you think we need to tell parents to occasionally take apart the seats and rinse the buckles out if they are allowing kids to eat in the backseat?
I’m not calling anyone out here, believe me. But while I have wiped down my backseats, vacuumed the mats and done a wet rag clean-up of the seat itself, I’ve never taken the plastic buckles off to really rinse them out well. I am a paranoid mom, so I try not to give my son food in the backseat besides Cheerios – but I do give him juice all the time. I’m sure those buckles have been sticky before.
When the Graco recall was announced I thought that if other carseat companies could manage to make buckles that didn’t stick – why couldn’t they? But now I see that this may be more of a universal problem of cleanliness.
Evenflo has a complete list of the model numbers and seats here. Here is their statement about the voluntary recall:
These select models use a harness crotch buckle which may become resistant to unlatching over time, due to exposure to various contaminants (like food and drinks) that are present in everyday use of the convertible car seat or harnessed booster by toddlers. This condition may make it difficult to remove a child from the vehicle. There is no such risk if the buckle is functioning normally.
I have one of these seats and will be contacting them for a replacement buckle. But I think I’ll also be regularly checking to make sure it stays clean and food-particle free. Evenflo provides instructions for cleaning. They are providing a remedy kit free of charge that includes a replacement buckle and instructions on installation. The remedy kit is available by placing an order with Evenflo or calling 1-800-490-7591. The company adds, “If you are experiencing difficulty unlatching your buckle before your remedy kit arrives, cleaning the buckle should alleviate the difficulty.