As vehicles become more concerned about safety features, it is no surprise that an exceptional focus is being paid to the needs of children—the smallest and most vulnerable riders in a vehicle.
By federal law, all parents must use child seats when transporting their children. The criteria for determining whether or not a seat is needed depends on the age and weight of the child. The goal has been to reduce the instance of mortality of children in motor vehicle accidents, currently the leading cause of death for young children.
Child seats re regulated by federal safety standards under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Even with the volume of regulations, there are still safety concerns with the use and manufacture of the seats. One issue is with the defects that compromise the safety features of the seat. Studies have found that some child car seats are still being sold on the market despite the fact that there have been defects in the product. The reason for this happening is that federal regulations depend on the companies to self-report. Federal standards only require companies to report on a narrow range of safety issues so if a car seat does not hold up but meets those standards, the company is under no obligation to let the government know of its other shortcomings. The result is that companies are doing the bare minimum to keep costs down and profit. The NHTSA is becoming more aware of these issues and vows to include more testing for the seats.
Another major issue is that old car seats that have outlived their usefulness dates are still being used. Car seats only have a shelf life of six years due to the issue of the plastic hardening and being more crushable. Car manufacturers suggest that car seats should be registered to notify later users of the expiration dates and any safety recalls.
Companies have had to issue recalls from the deaths of children in subsequent auto accidents. Others have received settlements from manufacturers. Attorneys will continue to keep watch for potential class-action lawsuits.
It is important for parents to research their car seat before purchase. Many parents believe that all car seats are the same and thus only look at the price.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.