Infant car seat jammed
July 12, 2014 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Our baby's car seat, a Graco Click Connect 30, will not unlock from its base. I know it's a long shot that anyone else might have experience with this, but any suggestions? Preferably ones that don't destroy the seat, base, or seatbelt, but if necessary...

This is likely our own fault, as we took the baby to the ocean for the first time today, and took the infant seat with us. In retrospect, this was dumb, as not only sand, but high tide, got the bottom of the seat. I thought I'd wiped it down pretty well, but when we got home, the seat could not be removed from the car. Help, please!
posted by Kriesa to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Best answer: Have a drink, and take some cleansing breaths. This is my general advice for the unsticking of things.

Then, look up your carseat and note where the clickers are. I suspect that the ocean had little to do with it. The carseat was probably placed in slightly askew and it grabbed onto the wrong part of the base, or the seat belt got in the way. After you know what you're looking for go out to the car and see if you can locate the click-in part and slightly depress it to make it release. Might help to take a screwdriver.

I have a different model of Graco and we recently got it stuck too. But then we got it unstuck, so best wishes!
posted by MadMadam at 3:17 PM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd remove the click base from the car and see what you can see about bad alignment like MM says above, and perhaps could hose off just the bottom w/o skunking up the seat lining.
posted by phearlez at 4:34 PM on July 12, 2014

Try putting your weight on the seat and fidgeting the click connector a bit. Sometimes it gets stuck because it didn't sit all the way down on top of the base properly; it won't come OFF but you can push it the rest of the way ON, and then it'll come off. I just put one knee on top and lean my weight on it and kinda fuss the whole assembly around a bit to see if I can get it to settle the rest of the way in. I wouldn't force it, but a little wiggling around might help.

(There's no very elegant or comfortable way to do this, especially in a sedan.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:42 PM on July 12, 2014

I agree with Eyebrows McGee that the problem could be that the seat isn't properly on the base, so you might have to give it some firm jolts and pushes to try to knock it into place, then try unclipping it the usual way. I definitely had to do this with my car seat now and then. Tugging it hard back and forth between the passenger doors (as in, NOT front to back) usually did the trick.
posted by katie at 5:10 PM on July 12, 2014

Best answer: Even though you feel this is your fault due to the sand, I would call Graco's customer service line and report the problem, and ask for their advice on how to get the seat out without damaging it, and also ask whether they are aware of any other reports of their seats getting jammed in this way. Any time a customer has a problem with a child safety device the company should hear about it, IMO. That gives them the opportunity to either improve the design of their device to make it more idiot-proof, or include better warnings / advice in the directions for the product.
posted by BlueJae at 8:29 AM on July 13, 2014

If this is still an issue, we have had the same sand trouble before with strollers and a car seat and the issue was that wet sand was up in the joints blocking the mechanism. The solution was to let it dry out for a day then really whacking and shaking the seat and stroller. The now dry sand shook loose and I was able to work the connection loose. After is was free I turned it, whacked it and shook it in every direction to clear all the sand out of all the little parts.
posted by saradarlin at 11:33 AM on July 13, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks very much for the replies. We managed to pry the seat out of the base with the help of a screwdriver and a fair bit of force. We'd installed it with the seatbelt, not the latch, so it was stuck in the car until then... Won't make that mistake again.

We tried washing it, drying it, working the mechanism, but it was no good. Graco's customer service was impressively responsive and offered us a replacement or a refund. Since we couldn't wait for a replacement, they sent us a shipping label to send it in for a refund and we went out and bought a new seat. I'm sure the beach didn't do the old one any good, but now I think it was defective from the start, because the new one works so much more smoothly.
posted by Kriesa at 3:13 AM on July 29, 2014

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