General Motors recalls over 600k cars due to car seat safety issue

General Motors is recalling over 660,000 SUVs due to a potential safety issue involving car seats.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted a recall notice on its website Thursday, stating that in certain models of Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles, the rear-seat LATCH anchorage bars used to secure car seats may have "excessive powder coating" that would prevent them from being installed.

LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) is an attachment system that can be used instead of the seat belt to install a car seat.

LATCH anchorage bars can be found in nearly all car seats and passenger vehicles made on or after Sept. 1, 2002, according to the Department of Transportation.

The Equinox and Terrain vehicles impacted by the recall are from 2020 to 2023, according to GM and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

PHOTO: 2023 GMC Terrain. (GMC)
PHOTO: 2023 GMC Terrain. (GMC)

The NHTSA is advising owners of impacted vehicles to temporarily use the car's rear seat belts to install car seats until the anchorage bars are fixed.

"Dealers will inspect the latch anchorage bars, and remove and replace the finish, as necessary, free of charge," NHTSA said in the recall notice.

MORE: Car seat safety guidelines: What parents should know about installation, buckling up and more

The American Academy of Pediatrics says in its car seat safety guide that the use of either a vehicle's seat belt or its LATCH are "equally safe" options.

The AAP's guidelines say that just one of the two options should be used at a time, "unless the car safety seat and vehicle manufacturers say it is OK to use both systems at the same time."

GM notes there have been no accidents, injuries or fatalities related to the LATCH issue in the affected Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles.

"GM is voluntarily recalling certain 2020 - 2023 Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain vehicles. In these vehicles, the four-seat lower child seat LATCH anchorage bars may have excessive powder coating, which could prevent a child seat from being installed with the anchorage bars," the company said in a statement to ABC News. "As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 225, 'Child Restraint Anchorage Systems.'"

MORE: Kids should stay in rear-facing car seats as long as possible, new guidelines say

GM said it plans to send letters to impacted owners next month.

Owners may also contact Chevrolet customer service at 1-800-222-1020 or GMC customer service at 1-800-462-8782, or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236.

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