really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
0 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

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1998 Mazda 626 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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1998 Mazda 626 Owner Comments

problem #1

Sep 081999


  • miles


My problem is with the rear center shoulder seat belt strap of the 1998 Mazda 626. What I consider as a life threatening problem to my three year old daughter. We were in route to our home, she was restrained correctly in a child car seat in the seat directly behind myself (driver) she was being very quite so I looked in the rearview mirror to see if she had fallen asleep. I noticed her skin color was darker than normal and she was foaming at the mouth, I quickly pulled over to the curb because I thought she was choaking on something. She had taken the shoulder strap from the rear center seat and wrapped it around her neck several times. I reached in over the child seat and tried to release the tension, but it would not loosen up. I reached into the dark to release the red button that holds the lap belt that snaps into the locking device, but the center belt does not have a red button. At this point I panicked, my daughter couldnt breath and I could do nothing to release the rear center seat belt. I managed to work my finger in between the strap and her throat so she could get some air. Now I was trapped and could do nothing that would risk her life. I screamed and someone came to my rescue with a pair of scissors. I cut through the solder strap and unwrapped it from around her neck. The top half of the shoulder strap retracted into the top slot in the rear of the seat. The next morning I closer examined the belt mechanism and found that there was a small release latch no bigger than the size of a bb that would have released the belt. I feel this non-standard release button almost cost me my daughters life. I'm so upset with this design flaw that I don't want to hear some service manager tell me it was my fault for not being able to figure out every dumb thing my three year old could do ahead of time. At this point I have not brought this problem up to my Mazda dealer, nor have I decided to even ask them to replace the shoulder strap that I had to cut through.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

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