At The Gilbert Law Group®, our auto products liability lawyers represent families with children that were injured or killed because a car seat was defective or malfunctioned. Unfortunately, even if as a parent/guardian you do your best to buy the best-fitting car seat for your child and obey the law by making sure that he/she is correctly strapped in, child safety restraint defects continue to cause serious injuries and deaths every year. As a matter of fact, motor vehicle crashes remain the number one killer of kids under age 16 in this country—with car seats a contributing factor in hundreds of fatalities.
Common Reasons Car Seats Fail:
• They don’t meet National Transportation Safety Board safety requirements
• Manufacturing defects
• Design defects: a flawed plastic shell, ill-fitting straps, poor padding, faulty restraints, choking hazards, faulty buckles, handle safety issues, improper restraints, poor shell design, flammable fabrics, webbing problems, or brittle product materials.
Not only do defective car seats continue to enter the marketplace every year, but also, poor assembly and inadequate operation/installation instructions have proven problematic.
Our car seat injury lawyers don’t need to remind you that without proper restraints, a motor vehicle crash can prove catastrophic, even fatal. We know how devastating it can feel to believe you’ve done everything to keep your child safe only to find that he/she suffered serious injuries because the child safety restraint system that you purchased failed to do its job. A traffic collision doesn’t even have to happen for a defective car seat to cause personal injury or wrongful death.
Injuries involving car seats can include:
• Broken bones
• Spinal cord injury
• Traumatic brain injury
• Neck injury
• Back injury
• Skull fractures
Although it is a positive that the government does recall defective car seats once a safety issue has been identified, ideally such problems should be worked out prior to the product entering the market place and before anyone can get hurt.
Fortunately, there are some steps that parents and guardians can take to protect their kids, including selecting the right car seat for their child and making sure that this safety device is properly installed in a vehicle and used correctly. This may not prevent child seat defects, but it can provide some protections.
As a reminder, our auto defects law firm would like to provide with some general car seat guidelines:
For infants and toddlers: Make sure that you use a rear-facing car seat until the child hits the age of 2 or exceeds the weight/height allowed by a particular safety device.
Preschoolers/toddlers: Use a forward-facing car seat that comes with a harness until, again, your child exceeds the weight/height allowed or is old enough to use a booster seat.
School-aged kids: Booster seats come with a belt-positioning restraint. This type of car seat is for kids in the 8-12 age range who are 4 to 9 feet in height.
Older kids: In addition to wearing lap and shoulder belts seat belts, all kids under age 13 should sit in the back seat of any vehicle.