One of the very first purchases new or expectant parents often make is a car seat. They do research and poll friends and family members who have made this decision before them to ensure that they are buying the very best for the newest member of the family. As a society, we know that car seats are vitally important to the health and safety of children, so much so that this is a $693 million industry—a number that is only expected to increase in the future.
However, we do not consider nearly often enough the risks at which car seats could be placing our children. Injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that approximately 120,000 children are injured in motor vehicle accidents each year and about 675 children under the age of 13 were killed in motor vehicle related accidents in 2017 alone. Statistics show that car seats are overwhelmingly helpful to keep children safe, reducing the risk of death in a motor vehicle accident by 54 percent.
While we have an ever-increasing amount of information and technology to keep our children safe, including better car seats than ever before, at least 20 car seats were recalled in 2018 due to safety hazards which could occur during car seat use. For example, Graco infant car seats, both Snugride and Aprica A30 models, were recalled due to a faulty buckle and the Combi Shuttle Travel System, a car seat and stroller combination, was recalled due to an issue with the car seat becoming disengaged from the stroller during use.
Keep your family as safe as possible by learning and understanding these 4 things you need to know about car seats and the injuries they may cause.
What Are the Most Common Types of Car Seat Injuries?
Children can sustain a variety of injuries due to a defective car seat, including bruising and scratches, broken bones, and head and brain injuries, such as concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries. These injuries can even be due to several situations other than motor vehicle related accidents, such as faulty buckles which may allow a child to slide out of the seat and sustain a fall, a defective handle which may cause the seat to fall even though the parent or caregiver is securely holding the handle, or an issue with the base of the car seat which may allow the seat to become detached from the base that is buckled onto the seat of the car. Unfortunately, each of these scenarios could result in a serious injury or even death.
How do car seat injuries happen?
Car seat injuries can be sustained due to a variety of different possible incidents and product defects. Some of the most common ways car seat injuries happen are due to:
- Defective buckles and chest clips;
- Inadequate padding;
- Defective carry handles;
- Poor installation instructions; and
- Defective base units.
How can I prevent car seat injuries?
There are several ways to help prevent car seat injuries with your children and other children for whom you are responsible for transporting.
Perhaps the simplest way is to ensure that you fully understand the correct way to install the car seat you are using. It is estimated that about 59 percent of car seats and 20 percent of booster seats currently in use are not properly installed. This ignorance may contribute to the injury and/or death of children because car seats are designed to work effectively only when they are used and installed correctly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When they are used in the proper manner, car seats can decrease the risk of injury and death by up to 70 percent. If you are uncertain how to install the car seat you are using, there are several resources available to you. For example, there are video car seat installation instructions available online and you can even have it inspected by a professional to ensure that you properly and safely installed your car seat.
Another effective way to prevent car seat injuries is to use the car seat which is most suitable to your child. There are so many choices of car seats available today that it can sometimes seem overwhelming. However, you can rest assured knowing that NHTSA’s car seat recommendations for children was compiled by reputable experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who understand how and when certain types of car seats should and should not be used. This resource helps you choose which car seat is best for your child based upon the criteria which should be considered when making this decision, including your child’s age and size.
My child has been injured by a car seat. What do I do next?
Unfortunately, simply using the most appropriate car seat for your child and ensuring that it is properly installed will not prevent every car seat related injury. Sometimes, the fault is the car seat manufacturer and there is nothing the parent or caregiver could have done to have prevented an injury to the child.
When this happens, it is imperative that you seek the legal advice of a competent products liability attorney. By hiring a knowledgeable, experienced, and dedicated lawyer, you are giving yourself and your family the best possible chance of being properly compensated following the tragedy of a child’s injury due to a defective car seat.
Don’t Fight this Battle Alone
At Silverthorne Attorneys, our team of talented attorneys have ample experience working with products liability claims, and our clients are our top priority. Products liability cases can be difficult cases to prove and often involve obtaining reports and testimony from expert witnesses to prove each element of your claim.
When you choose to work with Silverthorne Attorneys, our legal team will meet with you to discuss the specifics of your case, answer any questions you may have, and pursue justice for you and your family with excellence. Contact us today for a consultation at (949) 234-6034.