When parents place their child in a car, their number one priority is the safety of their child. This is why many parents invest in cars with extra airbags, high crash-test safety ratings, car seats, booster seats, and a variety of other restraint systems. They expect these investments to increase the safety of their child; however, sometimes, these items could be defective, leading to significant injuries to children everywhere. If it is important for parents everywhere to keep up with the latest news and regulations regarding defective booster seats and product liability so that they can be certain that their children are safe when they place them in a motor vehicle.
The Current Laws Regarding Booster Seats
The federal regulators regularly update the laws regarding the proper child seats that should be used for the size of the child. The current law states that children who are passengers in a moving vehicle must be placed in a child seat with a harness until their shoulders reach the top of the straps of that car seat. When this happens, the child can be moved to a booster seat until they have either reached a weight of 80 pounds, the age of eight years old, or a height of four feet nine inches.
Regulations Surrounding Child Seats
The National Highway Safety Administration is the governing body of motor vehicle safety in the country. They are responsible for making sure that every child seat undergoes the proper safety testing to ensure that it isn’t a dangerous booster seat. If something is wrong with the product, it is labeled a defective product and, in the event of booster seats, it becomes one of the seat recalls. Various tests that the product undergoes include various cash testing, inspection of the materials, ensuring that the belts function as they are supposed to, and making sure that the manual has all of the important information that a consumer would need to know. Furthermore, there must be a proper area for storage of the manual inside of the seat itself. The seat has to have appropriate labels so that people know what they are working with and it must pass all other standards set forth by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard.
What Defines a Booster Seat with Problems?
There are a number of ways that booster seats could be involved in a case involving a product liability attorney and a defective product. Briefly, any booster seat that is found to be out of compliance with the standards that have been set forth by the manufacturing requirements from the federal safety standards is subject to product recalls addressing the dangerous of the child seating device. Examples of reasons for recalls of various booster seats include issues with the Restraint Strap, If problems with the restraint straps develop; they could fail to properly protect the child in the event that the car stops short. The child’s momentum could carry them out of the seat, placing them at risk of developing serious injuries.
Problems with the Seat Itself: It is possible that the seat could be out of position in relation to the safety straps. This could make it easier for a child to slide out of the straps or could position them awkwardly in defective seats, predisposing them to injury. In this situation, it could be a good idea to contact an experienced attorney.
Small Parts Could Fall Off of the Seat: If the seat is not properly constructed, it is possible that small parts could fall off of a booster seat. These small parts create a major situation and could lead to children choking on the small parts, leading to personal injury to the kids that were supposed to be protected by the seat.
What Injuries can Result from a Booster Seat?
There are several different injuries that parents and children should be concerned about when it comes to a booster seat that has been recalled due to multiple problems. Examples of injuries include:
Abdominal Injuries: If the safety belt is not positioned properly, it could compress the abdomen of the child in the event of a sudden stop. This could lead to damage to the important organs contained in the abdomen, such as the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
Head Injuries: If the child is not properly restrained by defective seats, the child could fly forward in the event of an accident. This could lead to the child striking their head on the seat in front of them, leading to serious injuries. It might be prudent to contact a liability attorney in this situation.
Airway Injuries: If small parts are falling off of the defective product, kids could decide to pick them up and eat them. They could get lodged in their airway and create a choking hazard. This is a serious situation that could develop from child restraint systems that have been labeled a defective product.
Statistics from Injuries Related to Booster Seats
Unfortunately, injuries from booster seats are not uncommon. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the governing board that tracks injuries related to defective seats and received reports of almost 12,000 injuries from car seats and infant carriers back in 2008. This total includes booster seats. Furthermore, around eight deaths per year were attributed to infant carriers and car seats between the years of 2004 and 2006. It is important to note that these injuries and deaths were not related to car accidents.
Examples of Recalls for Booster Seats
Over the years, there have been a number of different recalls for booster seats. Recalls for booster seats can be issued for any reason related to defective booster seats as detailed above. Examples include:
Circo: Circo booster seats issued recalls for over 40,000 of their booster seats due to a defective restraint buckle that could lead to children falling out of their booster seat.
Safety 1st Fold-Up Booster Seats: This company issued booster seat recalls due to a defect in the seat itself. The seat could separate from the back of the seat, giving children room to fall out of the seat.
Basic Comfort: The company recalled their seats due to a lack of compliance with safety standards. The backs of the seats were not properly bonded and failed crash tests.
The Dorel Car Seat Recall: One of the Largest in History
Back in 2009, Dorel Juvenile Group was forced to issue one of the largest recalls in the history of car seats. The seats were recalled due to a flaw in the handle bolts. These bolts were prone to coming loose and caused the handle to separate from the car seat itself. Without this barrier, many children were predisposed to developing injuries if they fell out of the infant carrier. This recall involved close to 450,000 car seats and represented a major risk for parents and their infants everywhere.
Contact an Experienced Product Liability Attorney
If your child has been injured by a defective child product like defected booster seats, please contact our experienced product liability attorneys at GOM Law for a free consultation.