Child Safety Seat Failure
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyer Advocates for Child Injury Victims
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). Installing the correct kind of safety or booster seat can help protect your child from serious injuries in the event of a car crash. However, sometimes product defects can actually make a child safety seat more dangerous. These design and manufacturing defects can cause total safety seat failure as well as contribute to catastrophic head, neck and chest injuries from faulty belts and padding. In the past, many companies have issued product recalls for defective child seats. However, you can recover compensation on behalf of your child for product defects in a car seat, even without a recall.
If your family is struggling with catastrophic injuries or a wrongful death due to product defects in a child safety seat, then contact a product liability lawyer from Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. We can assist you with the legal process, freeing you from the additional stress of filing and defending a claim. We can also investigate the full impact of your child’s injuries to ensure that you get the compensation you need for both past and future expenses.
How are Child Safety Seats Tested for Product Defects?
The NHTSA states that all children must use safety restraints until they are eight years old or reach a height of 4’9”. This is because the safety features of automobiles, such as airbags, are designed for adults, leaving children vulnerable. However, while safety seats are necessary for the survival of infants and children in the case of a car crash, the car seat may cause further injury and death. Unfortunately, little is done to ensure the reliability of child car seats.
The NHTSA conducts the regulation of infant safety seats. However, the majority of testing is left to the manufacturers. These companies typically do only the minimal testing required by the NHTSA, which causes many product defects to go unnoticed. Additionally, companies must only report defects to the NHTSA if they fall within that agency’s loose requirements. Product recalls of infant safety seats are voluntary. This means that many dangerous and potentially fatal flaws in car seats may not be found or corrected before production. Then, a company may only recall a dangerous seat after many children sustain injuries in car accidents.
Therefore, consumers must take their own steps to ensure their safety seat will protect their children. To do so, you should:
- Research child safety seats before you decide to purchase one.
- Find the seat that is most suitable to your particular vehicle.
- Read the instructions carefully before installing the safety seat.
- Visit a child safety seat inspection location near your home.
- Register your seat with the manufacturing company to ensure you will be notified of any product recall for your seat.
- Check periodically for any recalls on your child’s car seat.
What are the Most Common Product Defects in Child Safety Seats?
Dangerous defects in a child safety seat may result from poor design, construction and/or labeling. A design defect, such as a loose harness, can result in a car seat that does not adequately protect a child from the impact of a car crash. Manufacturing defects, such as use of substandard materials, can cause additional injuries the child would not have otherwise sustained during an accident. Finally, labeling errors can lead to serious injury if a child of the incorrect weight, height and/or age uses it, even if the seat is otherwise sound.
Possible product defects in safety seat design or construction due to manufacturer neglect may include:
- Failure of manufacturer to meet accident regulations
- Substandard construction materials
- Use of flammable materials
- Sudden release of accident latches
- Carrier separation from base
- Malfunctions of the handle
- Unclear instruction manual, resulting in improper installation
- Shoulder straps that unclip or loosen, resulting in ejection
- Poor pelvic protection, which causes the child to slide down
- The inability for the safety belt to hold the safety seat in place
- Cracking of plastic parts
- Inadequate head protection
Defects like these have the potential to cause a serious and entirely preventable child injury. Infants and children may suffer from brain trauma, spinal and neck injury, paralysis, loss of limbs and wrongful death due to defective safety seats.
Car Seat Fail in a Crash? Call a Product Liability Lawyer for Child Injury Cases
If your child has suffered a serious injury or wrongful death due to defects in the design or construction of a safety seat, then you may be able to hold the manufacturer accountable for your damages. A product liability lawyer from our law firm can investigate your child injury case and fight for the full compensation you deserve.
We have law office location in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as well as Cherry Hill, New Jersey. However, we can assist with your catastrophic injury or wrongful death claim nationwide. Call one of our offices now or contact our experienced attorneys online to schedule a free consultation.