Alberta mom’s loose car seat straps caused by food debris: Transport Canada

Click to play video: 'Woman says safety review of children’s car seats raise new questions'
Woman says safety review of children’s car seats raise new questions
WATCH ABOVE: We have an update to a story we first told you last week. An Edmonton woman was worried when her new car seats stopped working properly. As Fletcher Kent reports, the woman says the findings of an investigation into the matter raise new questions – Feb 14, 2017

An investigation into an Edmonton mom’s complaints about her child’s car seat’s straps coming loose without anyone pressing the release button revealed the child safety device wasn’t defective – it was dirty.

Mom Angela Comeau contacted the agency after her child was able to slip out of her car seat.

READ MORE: Alberta mother issues warning after child easily loosens car seat straps: ‘It’s baffling’

She contacted both Graco — the car set manufacturer — and Transport Canada. She said an investigator from Transport Canada arrived at her house the next day, and told her to stop using two of the three car seats while they investigated.

Click to play video: 'Before debris is removed from car seat buckle'
Before debris is removed from car seat buckle

WATCH ABOVE: Transport Canada investigation video showing the car seat not working properly because of debris in the locking mechanism of the release lever.

On Tuesday, the agency released the following results of its investigation:

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“After a full investigation, our field defect investigators determined that, while the harness adjustment strap on a car seat could loosen without actuating the release lever when the seat was occupied, a piece of food was found stuck in the teeth of the locking mechanism of the release lever. Once the food was removed, the harness release lever functioned correctly and the harness adjustment strap remained as adjusted. As a result of these findings, the department has concluded that there is no defect in the Graco 4Ever car seat.”

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BELOW: Gallery of photos from Transport Canada of food debris in the release lever of the Graco car seat.

Click to play video: 'After debris is removed from the car seat buckle'
After debris is removed from the car seat buckle

WATCH ABOVE: Transport Canada investigation video showing the car seat release lever working properly after food debris is removed from the locking mechanism.

Transport Canada said this is the only complaint it has received for this model of car seat and has not issued a recall, but will continue to investigate any further complaints it may receive on this and other car seats.

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Comeau said Transport Canada investigators didn’t tell her much, other than saying they completed the investigation and they found a piece of food the size of a sesame seed lodged in the buckle.

Comeau said the seat continued to malfunction after investigators left her home, and she could not see any debris in the buckle.

She said Graco told her it would replace the car seats, but Comeau didn’t trust the seats anymore. Graco agreed to refund her and asked that she send the seats back to them.

Comeau has since bought three new car seats from a different manufacturer that have hidden levers. She also thinks child seats should have push levers instead of pull levers. She cited a recent Transport Canada recall where an Evenflo car seat was recalled because children could easily reach the adjustment button and loosen the harness.

Transport Canada reminded parents to regularly inspect their child’s car seats because sometimes the smallest amount of debris can impact the safety and functionality of the seat.

Transport Canada also said kids who are large enough to reach the buckle themselves should be taught the importance of a properly tightened harness. Comeau said her daughter has been educated, but she still stands behind her belief that the release lever should be hidden out of reach.

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Anyone who has experienced an issue with a car seat should file a complaint with Transport Canada online or by phone 1-800-333-0510.

The car seat in the Transport Canada video is:
Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat – Cameron
Model Number: 1978149
Serial: 08261600207

READ MORE: What you need to know before buying a used car seat

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