Signs of an Unsafe Car Seat
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Daniel J. Sherry Jr. with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Car seats or safety seats made for infants, toddlers, and children are essential for a family to travel safely by car from one place to another. Children can be particularly vulnerable to injury, especially in a car accident, so it’s important to follow all laws and safety guidelines regarding children and car seats.
According to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 13. This is also why car seat designers and manufacturers are required to meet strict safety standards across the industry. When a child is injured due to a potentially defective car seat, the family may be eligible to file a claim against the manufacturer.
Signs that a car seat may be unsafe include but are not necessarily limited to:
- The seat does not have a lower anchor attachment
- The seat does not have a chest clip
- The chest clip pops open with ease
- A diagonal seatbelt is the only securing strap
- The buckle becomes stuck in a latched position
- Pieces break off or detach from the seat
- Cracks develop in the plastic
- The adjuster button sticks in the down position
- Material tears or comes apart when the child picks at or bites it
- Cheap or flammable material
- The car seat has been recalled
- Unintended rotation
Injuries that can result from an unsafe or defective car seat include head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, and more. It’s important to keep in mind that the effects of a serious infant or childhood injury could go on to affect the child on a short, long-term, or even permanent basis. A child who suffers long-term damage from a defective car seat injury may be eligible for ongoing financial support.
If your child was injured in a car seat, the manufacturer or designer may be liable.
Designers and manufacturers of children’s products have a legal responsibility to make sure their products meet industry safety standards and undergo rigorous testing. If a child is injured in a motor vehicle collision despite being properly secured in a car seat, this could indicate a deficiency with the seat’s design or a potential manufacturing defect.
When a car seat has one or more defects that allow a child to be injured, the family may be eligible to file a product liability claim against the manufacturer; a product liability claim or lawsuit may cover a wide variety of damages including past and future medical bills, wages lost when a parent has to stay at the hospital or at home to care for the child, as well as future life care expenses. This is true regardless of whether or not a recall was issued for the specific model of car seat. It may also help to note that most product liability attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, which means clients only pay for their services if/when they win the case.
To learn more about car seat safety requirements or for help investigating a potential claim, reach out to a product liability attorney in your area.