On this page, you’ll learn:
- Why Safety Seats are Required by Law
- How Parents Choose the Right Safety Seat for Their Children
- Texas Child Safety Seat Laws
- When Child Seat Manufacturers Fall Short
- Why Child Safety Seats are Recalled – a List of Potential Hazards
- How to Find Out if a Seat Has Been Recalled
Why Safety Seats are Required by Law
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of injury and death among children in the United States. In 2014, over 600 children were killed and more than 120,000 children were injured in motor vehicle crashes. Over one-third of these deaths occurred among children who were not wearing a safety belt.
Children are often more vulnerable to serious injuries when involved in a vehicle crash. It’s for this reason that child safety seats have become mandatory in the United States. They are supposed to offer children greater protection, security and stability. However, these products are also frequently recalled for serious safety defects. A defective seat can put a child in great danger, potentially causing choking, fractures, cuts and many other types of serious injury.
At Guajardo & Marks, we help clients win compensation for serious injuries caused by defective products. It is our experience that manufacturers don’t always make consumer safety the top priority. If you or a loved one has been injured by a faulty or dangerous product, contact us to learn more about how we can help you.
How Parents Choose the Right Safety Seat for Their Children
There are many different types of child safety seats, including rear-facing car seats (recommended for children until the age of 3), forward-facing car seats (recommended for children ages 4 to 7) and booster seats (recommended for children from the ages of 8 to 12). Every seat comes with specific height and weight requirements listed by the manufacturers. The size of a child (not necessarily age) will often determine which seat a parent should use.
Because so many child safety seats have been recalled, it is important to do research before purchasing the right seat for your child. You can look up the brand name and model number to check for recalls (see below for more specifics on determining whether a seat has been recalled). Even though the safety of child passenger seats are a major cause for concern for cautious parents, they are still required by the law.
Texas Safety Seat Laws
Every state has its own laws concerning the use of child safety seats. In Texas, children under the age of 8 or less than 57 inches in height must be secured in a passenger safety seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Children ages 8 to 17 or at least 57 inches in height must wear a safety belt if there is a belt available.
When Child Seat Manufacturers Fall Short
Both child safety seat laws and national safety groups say that parents should use seats in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines. We rely on manufacturers to provide not only safe and secure seats for our children, but also to give us guidelines and instructions about how to use them properly. Unfortunately, child safety seat manufacturers often fall short on both fronts. As consumers know all too well, child safety seat recalls are a very common occurrence.
Manufacturers such as Graco, Evenflo, Recaro and Dorel have had seats subjected to recalls. In 2014, over 6 million child safety seats manufactured by Graco were recalled for a safety defect, which investigators determined put “an unreasonable risk to a child’s life in the event of an emergency.” While not every recall is indicative of a serious safety concern, many of the biggest recalls are due to risks that pose serious hazards.
Why Child Safety Seats are Recalled – A List of Potential Hazards
Child safety seat defects range from minor to extremely hazardous. It is often the product’s design that puts a child in danger of injury. Sometimes it is the mislabeling of a seat that leads to a product recall. Examples of factors that lead to recalls include:
- Seats that don’t offer adequate stability because of poorly designed harnesses, buckles, straps or bases
- Risk of separation of the base from the seat
- Choking hazards for children
- Sharp edges in seats
- Loose components that can cause children harm
- Difficulty removing child from seat in the event of an accident
- Inadequate labelling or instructions for proper use.
How to Find Out if a Seat Has Been Recalled
Parents can enter in the brand name and the model of a child safety seat at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website to see if it has been subjected to a recall. They can also sign up for alerts and emails concerning the latest safety seat recalls. If you are unsure if your seat has been recalled, you can contact the manufacturer directly and ask whether that specific seat has been recalled.
It is very important for parents to register their safety seats with the manufacturer upon purchase. Registering a seat by filling out the registration card makes it more likely that a parent will receive a notification should the seat later be recalled, yet only 42 percent of parents take the time to fill out and send in the registration card to the manufacturer.
If you believe that your child was injured because of a defective child safety seat, the attorneys at Guajardo & Marks can help. We hold negligent manufacturers responsible for the injuries caused by faulty and defective products. Contact us today for a free consultation. We earn no fee unless we win.