Car Accidents take more young lives in the United States than any other cause of death. For children 12 years and younger, this fate is easily prevented by a car seat or booster seat.
As with most products produced in the United States, some booster seats are rushed through safety and quality control tests — which results in preventable injuries and deaths. If your family has suffered a tragedy due to a faulty car or booster seat, call Walton Telken Injury Lawyers today for any questions on the potential defects of your car seat.
What Defects Exist in Car and Booster Seats?
Leading car and booster seat manufacturers like Britax, Evenflo, Graco, Diono, Dorel Juvenile Group, and 4moms have seen a combined 10 million of their car and booster seats recalled in the last five years. The defects on these car and booster seats were any of the following:
- Unintended rotation
- Base/shell separation
- Sudden releases
- Weak construction
- Defective harness
- Flammable material
- Sticky buckle
- Faulty handles
Any of these defects can slip through if quality control or safety tests are rushed or ignored. It can take months or even years for these defects to manifest themselves, leaving the children who ride in them to be sitting ducks in a car accident. It wouldn’t matter how much research parents put in before buying the car or booster seat; the company did not follow its obligation to protect their paying customers.
Car Seat Safety in Missouri
There are three main points to remember regarding booster and car seats in Missouri:
- If your child is younger than four years and weighs less than 40 pounds, you are legally obligated to put them in a size-specific car or booster seat.
- If your child is between 4 and 7 years old and weights at least 40 pounds, you are legally required to fasten the kid into a booster or car seat unless the child is over 80 pounds and 57 inches tall.
- After 8 years old, weighing at least 80 pounds and being taller than 57 inches — the state of Missouri says the child is safe to buckle into a seatbelt like a regular adult.
However, the NHTSA recommends children up to 12 years old be in some booster seat when riding in a car. This leaves a wide range of children vulnerable to a defective booster or car seat if you’re a parent who follows the NHTSA guidelines.
Types of Car Seats You Can Buy
Rear Facing Car Seats: Children under the age of three should be in a rear-facing car seat. Keep a child facing away from the windshield glass as long as they will fit in a rear-facing seat.
Forward Facing Car Seats: Once a child turns four, they usually have grown large enough to where they can upgrade to a forward facing car seat. A child will typically stay in a forward-facing until they are seven years old.
Booster Seat: The NHTSA recommends booster seats for anyone under 12 who is also under 80 pounds or 57 inches tall. Most booster seats nowadays come in the all-in-one variety, where the product starts as a rear-facing car seat and can transform into a front-facing car seat before finally detaching into a booster seat.
Side Impact Marketing
There is no government side-impact car seat standard — side-impact referring to a T-bone accident where a car is struck from the side by an oncoming vehicle. Despite this standard being non-existent, the car seat and booster seat manufacturers still market their products as “side-impact tested.”
This means the manufacturers can set their own standards for safety on side-impacts as opposed to meeting the standard for a governing safety administration. This is a massive conflict of interest that many parents are completely unaware. Thus many parents will buy a “side-impact tested” car or booster seat at face value.
Ignoring Federal Saftey Standards
No specific standards are governing the design intent of a booster seat, such as the correct positioning of a belt over the child. Since there is no law governing design intent, booster and car seat manufacturers have yet to develop in-house tests to make sure their product allows for proper belt placement.
The same goes for minimum weight in a car seat. Since there is no law forcing manufacturers to align with a standardized minimum weight for their car and booster seats, these companies will decide those weights on their own with little transparency. The law states booster seats cannot be sold to children under 30 pounds, but no governing body is there to check on those limits. This means a manufacturer could sell a booster or car seat to a 35-pound child without ever testing that seat on a 35-pound dummy.
Recourse for Defective Car and Booster Seats
If your child was injured or died because a defective car or booster seat did not adequately provide the protection the manufacturer marketed, please contact Walton Telken Injury Lawyers today. We have offices in Missouri and Illinois — ready to give free consultation on your situation.