Recent statistics indicate that the number-one killer of children in the U.S. is car accidents. Stats also tell us that most of those happen when children are not secured in car seats. Sometimes they are not in their seats at all. Equally dangerous is car seats that are defective. You should test and evaluate car seats for their effectiveness. Here is a list of common defects that may be present in a child’s car seat.
One of the key parts of a car seat are the straps themselves. They should be sturdy and firmly connected to the device. Check the stitching before using a car seat. Pull on the straps and inspect the stitching at the connection points. Don’t be gentle; pull hard. Swing the seat around by the straps. You want to make certain they are in good shape before trusting your child to them.
WEAK BUCKLES OR CLIPS
Just like straps, buckles need to be sturdy and trustworthy. Also like straps, take some time to test them before use. Lock them in place and, once again, treat them roughly. Pull them roughly. Dangle the seat from just the buckle and pump it, making sure the buckles will support the weight of your child. You are testing to make sure they stay locked and secured. Test the sturdiness of the clip itself the same way. Make sure the plastic is strong and able to withstand pressure and impact.
You also want to make sure the child cannot easily unfasten the buckles themselves. Young children may unwittingly unbuckle themselves or undo the buckles out of discomfort. They should not be able to do this without help from an adult or until they are old enough to make this decision for themselves.
WEAK CARRIER HANDLES
There are a few varieties of child seats, and their use depends on the age and size of your child. Infant seats often double as carriers, with handles that detach or lock under the seat. Recalls have happened where the handle detaches or unlocks prematurely, sending seat and baby forward. Again, we suggest you do your own stress tests with handles. Pull on them with force, making sure they stay in place. Put the seat in carrier mode, pump it hard, and swing it around. Make sure the handle stays strong and won’t break while you’re carrying your child.
Padding is an important feature in car seats. Not only does it protect the body, but it also specifically protects the head. Infant seats are designed to secure a baby’s head, since their underdeveloped muscles cannot hold their heads steady.
Bad or damaged padding can create serious damage on small bodies. Instead of being cradled by the padding, kids can slam into hard plastic. This could be particularly troublesome to the cranium. Head injuries can lead to severe complications and development problems for kids.
WEAK BASE UNITS
Some car seats are detachable, such as infant seats. The connection between the seat and the base unit must be strong and secure. If it becomes disconnected in a wreck, the child could be thrown forward, still connected to the rest of the seat.
One key aspect of product liability lawsuits is improper labeling, where a manufacturer fails to warn consumers of dangers in their product. While it is unlikely that a kid’s car seat will have inherent dangers, the instillation instructions could be misleading. If important steps are left out or worded poorly, it could cause parents to improperly secure car seats, potentially causing injury later.
WHAT TO ASK A LAWYER
If your child has been harmed in a car accident, speak to an attorney. They can investigate the details of the car seat and help you determine if the injuries were the result of a defective car seat. There may even be a class action suit you can join against the manufacturer of the seat.
If your child has been injured by defective car equipment, please call us today at 918-492-7674, or contact us online. We want to help you and your family get the justice you deserve.