Cincnnati product liability lawyer and Ohio child safety attorney reviews defective Car Seats Contributing to Serious Road Injury & Death
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children in the United States. Combining all unintentional injury deaths among those between 0 and 19 years each year, motor vehicle traffic–related accidents claim the most lives. In 2015, 663 children ages 12 years and younger died in car accidents. In 2014, more than 121,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Many young passenger injuries and deaths are preventable. The causes of accidents vary widely, but parents can take measures to reduce the risks on the road for their children.
One CDC study found that, in one year, more than 618,000 children ages 0-12 rode in vehicles without the use of a child safety seat or booster seat or a seat belt some of the time. Safe driving behavior and placing kids in appropriately-sized car seats, child seats and booster seats can be the difference between life and death.
Responsibility also lies with the manufacturing of reliable auto safety features and critical safety products like child car seats and baby seats. Car manufacturers and producers of child protection products have a duty to ensure the safety of America’s youth.
A properly designed and correctly used restraint system can reduce the risk of death of infants in passenger cars by up to 70 percent. However, when car seats or baby seats are defective, it may provide no protection at all, and may pose numerous dangers.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati product liability lawyer and experienced Ohio personal injury attorney, well-versed in the science and economic impact auto accidents have on a victim’s life and family.
Common Types of Defective Car Seats
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tested 66 infant seats in frontal crashes, and almost half of the seats either separated from their bases or exceeded the expectations of injury. Common defects with infant and child car seats include issues with handles, cheap materials, buckle defects, improper padding and component separation risks.
Design and manufacturing flaws leading to seat recalls have included:
- Defective Buckles—faulty or poorly designed buckles may unlatch upon impact, or allow a child to unfasten it.
- Defective Chest Clips—chest clips and harness straps may break or become unfastened, leading to serious injuries with or without a collision.
- Defective Carry Handles—some detachable car seats for infants have been recalled when handles released unexpectedly, causing the seat to move or fall in a moving vehicle.
- Inadequate Safety Padding—the cushions in a car seat are intended to prevent or reduce head injuries in the event of a collision. Insufficient padding can contribute to serious head or brain injuries.
- Defective Base Units—detachable car seats are latched into a base unit that may be defective. As a result, the car seat can unlatch upon impact, causing an infant or child to be thrown from the seat.
- Inadequate Installation Instructions—unclear instructions for installing or using a car seat can lead to misuse and subsequent injuries.
Recalled Defective Car Seats
Each year, there are several instances when a manufacturer or a safety agency issues a recall for a defective child seat that fails to protect young passengers. If you believe you have a defective car seat, or an injury has already occurred, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to report the problem, and contact an experienced attorney to investigate.
Since 2007, Evenflo has issued seven recalls of child car seats for multiple reasons, including a child’s access to release buttons, difficult-to-unlatch baby seats, defective buckles, structural defects, and accidental or unintentional detachment during a rollover event. One Evenflo model was recalled by the NHTSA for unintentional detachment during side impact accidents.
Baby Seat Defects & Recalls
Other brands of recalled or defective car seats may include:
- Britax Child Safety Inc. has also been actively recalling defective child seats in recent years. The company recalled 70,000 defective seats in 2016. Britax has recalled products for a defective harness chest clip, defective handles that may break, structural cracking, a loosening harness, and choking hazards.
- Baby Jogger LLC—a 2016 recall included the City Go infant car seat, the City Mini infant car seat, and the Vue Lite infant car seat. These baby seats fail to comply with certain requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard because of missing information in the instructions.
- Baby Trend Inc.—a February, 2017 recall was issued after it was discovered the child seats have a center adjuster rivet that may pull through or break if the harness is being used with a child weighing more than 40 lbs. As such, these child seats fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, and the child seat occupant may be at an increased risk of injury.
- Combi USA, Inc.—Combi has recalled their Coccoro and Zeus models for insufficient safety belts and harness webbing that fails to meet minimum breaking strength requirements. Both defects increase the risk of injury in the event of an accident.
- Diono (formerly Sunshine Kids Juvenile)—Diono recalled the Radian R100, Radian R120, Radian RXT, Olympia, Pacifica, and Rainier convertible and booster car seats because the product may not adequately protect a child from injury in the event of a crash.
- Dorel Juvenile Group (DJG)—Dorel has issued six recalls in recent years for several child seat models. Safety concerns include inadequate latch assembly, poor instructions, defective harness buckles, improper base mounting, and difficulty attaching baby seats.
The following companies have also issued recent recalls for defective car seats for children:
- Orbit Baby Inc.
- Kiddy USA
- Peg Perego U.S.A.
- Lerado Success
- Team-Tex America
- Graco Children’s Products
- Triple Play Products
- Thorley Industries
If a loved one has suffered an injury due to a defective child car seat, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, a consumer safety attorney, and he will help you answer these critical questions.