Child Car Seat Accident and Defective Child Car Seat Injury
Brockton Dangerous and Defective Infant and Child Car Seat Liability Lawyers
More often than not child and toddler car seats save countless lives as they protect children from more severe injuries than would have occurred had they not been seated in a car seat at the time of the accident. Studies have shown that non-defective car seats, if used properly, can reduce infant-related car accident deaths by 71%. That is why they are required by law in every state.
However, there is flip side to that coin. Defective child seats and improperly assembled or used child car seats can result in injuries and deaths that could have easily been prevented. Defective child car seats have come under increasing scrutiny over the last few decades as car seat design defects have become more and more common and have led to more and more child injuries and deaths.
The Problem With Defective Child Car Seats is Widespread and Not Unique to Any One Manufacturer
Graco, a major manufacturer of products for infants and children, issued the largest recall of child car seats in history in 2014. Graco was investigated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration as the company was suspected of failing to act quickly enough on the recalls and may not have recalled enough models. But Graco is far from the only company to recall its products for safety reasons.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission together have tested and been responsible for issuing millions car seat recalls over the last ten years. The following are just a few of the many recalls that have occurred:
- Recaro Child Safety, September 2015 Recall — Recalled over 173,000 Performance and ProRide Model car seats because of a faulty top tether strap that had a tendency to loosen leading children to become unsecured in the car seat during crash.
- Britax, August 2015 Recall — Recalled approximately 200,000 ClickTight Advocate Models, Boulevard, and Marathon Model car seats due to a sticky/buckle button that could prevent shoulder straps from staying tight and securing child in the car seat.
- Combi USA, January 2014 Recall — Recalled Coccoro and Zeus Turn Model car seats due to defects in the harness webbing that could lead to harness weakness which would prevent the child from being secured adequately in car seat. Another massive car car seat recall was announced in July 2016 for defects in the restrain system on certain models manufactured between Januar 2009 and June 2016.
- Evenflo, August 2014 Recall —Recalled Embrace Model due to harness buckle defect that could prevent unlatching which could restrict the child’s movement and prevent the child from easily being removed from car seat.
We’ve been helping the residents of Southeast Massachusetts for more than 35 years.
Manufacturers like the ones listed above have a duty to manufacture and design safe car seats. If they fail to met their duty and this failure results in a child injury then a product liability action can be brought against the manufacturer.
Examples of Child Car Seat Defects
It is important that every part of the car seat met minimum safety standards to ensure the child’s protection. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Manufacturer defects do occur. Some of the most common are:
- Weak, damaged, or ineffective seat buckles
- Weak or ineffective shell
- The harnesses webbing does not to meet minimum breaking strength requirement under the safety standards
- Defective chest clip which is responsible for keeping the harness straps in a secure position across the child’s shoulder
- Latch connector locking pawl cracks
- Defective straps or harnesses
- Warping of the base between the shell and the mounting bracket creating issues attaching or detaching shell from the base
- Sticky buckle
- Sudden buckle release
- Important assembly and operation labels and stickers not placed on the seat
- Screws used to attach the seat handle to the shell can loosen and fall out
- Incorrect rear facing belt path installation arrows
- Elastic straps used to secure the safety pad to the shell can loosen and get entangled in child’s body resulting in strangulation
- Weak or defective handle that may develop cracks around the carry handle grip. These cracks can result in a fractured handle and the seat falling while being carried.
- Defective design or construction
- Front strap adjuster button which loosens the seat’s harness is within the child’s reach, allowing the child to activate the front strap button and loosen the internal harness.
- Defective unlatching of the harness buckle. In this case the buckle becomes stuck in a latched condition so that it cannot be opened by depressing the buckle’s release button. It may be difficult to take the child out of his/her seat, increasing the risk of injury in the event of an emergency in which a prompt exit from the vehicle is required.
- Defective harness adjuster button getting stuck in the down position. This could result in a loosening of the shoulder harness and an unintended harness release.
- Combustible/flammable materials
- Harness adjuster detached from car seat shell
- Softer chest pad or other protective material that, when bitten by the child, is easily removed and can result in choking hazard if the child chews into pieces.
- Inadequate head protection
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Negligence Claim against Child Caregiver, Daycare, School, Child Care Center for Car Seat Death or Injuries
Consumer Reports published a scary fact. It determined that more that 75 percent of all car seats that are under a recall are never returned to the manufacturer for repair and are likely still being used after the recall has been issued.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published another scary fact in 2011 when it claimed that more than 95 percent of child car seats are installed improperly or used improperly.
When parents entrust their child’s safety to a caregiver, whether it be a day care center, nursery, child care center, school, camp or after school program they do so with the belief that the caregiver is going to take every possible step to secure the safety of the child.
Unfortunately, most caregivers are not notified of the child car seat recalls that are issued and most caregivers do not search for car seat recall updates. As a result they fail to return the defective/recalled car seat to manufacturers for repair and instead continue to use them which exposes children to serious danger.
Similarly there are several caregivers that do not follow car seat assembly instructions and proper car seat use instructions. This too presents a serious risk of danger to children.
Our Lawyers Can Help You Hold Your Car Seat Manufacturer Responsible
If your child suffered a fatality or injury because of a careless or negligent caregiver then you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries that could have easily been avoided if proper care and attention had been exercised. The same goes if your child suffered car seat injuries because of a defective car seat.
If your child suffered a car seat injury due to a dangerous or defective product then call the child car seat accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan today for your free legal consultation. We have a proven track record with over 35 years of legal experience in obtaining favorable outcomes for our clients. Our child injury attorneys have successfully represented countless families over the years and we understand that no legal action can replace a lost loved one, or fully restore your life before the accident, but legal action can help you recover financially for your costs, as well as help you move forward with your life knowing the company at fault did not get away with their negligence.
We help adult and child victims, and their families, of accidents and accidental death caused by defective infant and child car seats and booster seats. We take cases throughout all of Southeast Massachusetts including, but not limited to, those in the following counties, cities and towns: Plymouth County including Brockton, Plymouth, Bridgewater, Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury, Wareham, Abington, Rockland, Whitman, Hanson, Middleborough; Norfolk County including Quincy, Stoughton, Dedham, Weymouth, Braintree, Avon, Holbrook, Randolph, Canton, Sharon, Brookline, Franklin; Bristol County including New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, Attleboro, Mansfield, Easton, Raynham, Norton; and the Greater Boston area including Cambridge, Dorchester, Roxbury and Somerville.
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