Dangerous Auto Part?: Power Window Can Cause Injuries, Says Consumer Group

Kids and Cars is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require that all motor vehicle manufacturers make sure that the power windows on their vehicles come with an auto-reverse feature that automatically would stop a window from rolling up if there was an object or person in the way. The consumer group’s new surveys report some 13.6 million power window injuries over an undefined time period. Over 22 million adults say they’ve either gotten hurt or know someone who was injured because of a power window.
Kids are especially prone to power window injuries. Power windows can create 30-80 pounds of force. It takes just 22 pounds of force to cause serious injury to a child. Kids and Cars says that at least 25 kids have died over the past decade in power window-related accidents.
A common kind of injury accident involving power windows and minors involves the child whose head gets caught in a window that shuts, causing catastrophic choking injuries or traumatic brain injuries. Finger amputation is another kind of power window-related injury.
The NHTSA believes that its new safety mandates regarding power windows are taking care of injury hazards. Just last year, the federal agency started requiring all passenger vehicles to come with recessed power switches, which would decrease the chances that a child might accidentally roll up the window while leaning on a switch. By October of next year, the only way to close a power window will be to pull up on a switch.
The NHTSA says there are about 1,995 power window injuries and 7 deaths a year. Most of the injury victims are minors.
If a particular auto part is becoming a common cause of personal injury, it is up to the auto manufacturer to fix the auto defect so that no more people get hurt or die. Failure to do so can be grounds for an auto products liability lawsuit.
Kids and Cars Suggestions for Preventing Power Window Accidents:

  • Make sure the windows’ “lock-out” mechanism is activated so kids can’t play with the windows.
  • Make sure passengers have all arms, hands, and fingers inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t leave kids alone in the vehicle.
  • Buy an auto that comes with the auto-reverse mechanism and/or with switches that have to be pulled up to raise the window so that a person who accidentally hits or leans on the switch won’t cause the power window to automatically roll up.

New Data Refutes NHTSA Findings, Exposes Real Danger of Vehicle Power Windows, Kids and Cars, November 2, 2009
Power Windows Pose Great Risk to Children, Says Consumer Group, New York Times, November 2, 2009
Power Window Safety Recommendations, Kids and Cars
Related Web Resources:
Kids and Cars
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Our auto products liability lawyers handle injuries to children and minor cases and personal injury and wrongful death cases involving adult victims.


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