Child safety seat laws have changed over the years, and children under the age of eight years ride in a child safety seat as opposed to using a seatbelt alone. Additional clarity is provided by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which states that children should be in rear-facing seats until they reach 2 years of age. After that point, they can transition to forward-facing safety seats until they are 4 years old (or exceed the upper height and weight limit of the seat). After age 4 and 40+ pounds and possess the behavioral maturity to properly use a shoulder belt, children can transition to a booster seat with the adult lap and shoulder belt, which they should use until the adult lap and shoulder belt fit them properly without a booster (typically age 10-12).
Parents often spend time and resources scouring the internet for consumer reviews to find the ideal seat to protect their children in the event of a crash. However, infant car seats are not always perfect, as is evidenced by the various car seat recalls.
Child-related motor vehicle accidents statistics
- Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 663 deaths of children under the age of 12 years in 2015
- One in every five kids who die in motor vehicle accidents are not restrained properly
- The child death rate in Texas in 2015 was at 51 deaths per 100,000 kids
- The leading cause of child-related deaths in Texas is motor vehicle crashes
- Most motor vehicle child fatalities which occurred in Texas in 2014 and 2015 were preventable
While a properly manufactured car seat can keep your child safe in the unfortunate event that an accident happens, a defective one can lead to severe injuries or even death. You should not bear the consequences of a defective car seat. This is why you should consult a personal injury lawyer who will evaluate your case and address your concerns regarding defective car seats.
Common car seat defects
Whether your child is secured in a child car seat or a booster seat, there is a range of issues that can pose serious risks to your child in the event of a collision. Some of the most common defects include:
- Defective buckles and latches – a child could unfasten poorly designed buckles and latches, or they could come loose on impact. Buckles and latches that are too tight may make it difficult to rescue a child
- Inadequate padding – the padding in a car seat is meant to minimize or alleviate head injuries in case of an accident. Inadequate padding could lead to severe head injuries or even traumatic brain injury
- Defective adjusters – when you cannot adjust the straps due to defective strap adjusters, your child is at risk of sustaining strap-related injuries such as strangulation
- Improperly placed chest clip – if the chest clip is placed too low, the child may be ejected from the vehicle on impact
- Defective carry handles – many car seats double up as an infant carrier. When carry handles give way unexpectedly, the car seat may pitch forward or even fall
- Poor installation instructions – although this is not exactly a defect, poorly worded and unclear instructions put your child at the risk of sustaining injuries if you install the car seat incorrectly
Common defective car seat injuries
Unfortunately, you may not know if you have a defective car seat until or unless you are in a wreck. Some of the most common injuries sustained by children due to defective car seats include:
- skull fractures
- traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- spinal cord injuries (SCI)
What do I do if I suspect I have a defective car seat?
If you believe your car seat is defective, visit www.recalls.gov to find out whether the brand’s model has been recalled. If so, the manufacturer is supposed to fix or replace it. If it has not been recalled, report the problem to the manufacturer as well as the NHTSA to find out what other steps you need to take. People who register their new car seats will be informed in case there’s ever a recall. Under no circumstances should you use a car seat you suspect is defective.
Who is responsible for injuries sustained due to car seat failure?
Injuries sustained due to car seat failure in Texas are often governed by product liability laws. Therefore, you can file for a claim from the manufacturer, distributor, or even the retailer. To prove manufacturer liability, the car seat must have been installed and used as per manufacturer instructions. You must also not have altered the car seat from the condition it left the factory. You may also file a lawsuit against the manufacturer for failure to provide sufficient instructions or consumer warnings. The distributor and retailers may be held liable if your personal injury lawyer proves that they knowingly sold a defective car seat.
Contact Thompson Law Attorneys
If you think your child has sustained injuries due to a defective car seat, contact the experienced Thompson Law Attorneys at 844-308-8180. Our robust team of investigators and attorneys are available round the clock and will come to you for a free case review. Our successful track record in handling car seat failure lawsuits speaks for itself. We will work towards compensation for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, long-term care, among other losses.