Tennessee Product Liability Law: Defective Child Car Seats
Manufacturers of Child Car Seats have the enjoyment of one unique benefit in the business world: they produce the only product whose use is required for parents under U.S. law. It is nonetheless incorrect to make the assumption that every child car seat is made the same and are, therefore, equally safe. The reality is that most parents will make their selection of car seat based on its affordability and style.
At InjuryTN, our experienced child injury lawyers understand that those responsible for the design, manufacture, and distribution of child car seats tend to take advantage of these factors by creating products that may look better, but prove not to have sufficient safety features. Actually, recent evidence has shown that certain companies completely disregard possible dangers about which they had been warned. Actions like this come across as negligent and callous when considering the fact that the whole purpose of such products is to protect children.
Most Common Cause of Child Fatalities
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported motor vehicle injuries as the top cause of fatality among children in the U.S. In fact, recent studies have shown than nearly 700 children under the age of 12 suffered fatal injury and almost 150,000 suffered serious injury in motor vehicle accidents.
Parents place their trust into car seat manufacturers to minimize all possible risks of child fatality, and usually, they do. The appropriate use of child car seats reduces risks by more than 70% for infants, and more than half for toddlers. The use of booster seats with children ages 4 to 8 reduce their risk more than 40%. Likewise, children who are older than 8 as well as into adulthood can observe their risk of severe injury and fatality diminish by half when employing the use of suitable restraining devices. Additionally, of the children who suffered fatal injuries in car accidents, more than 30% were either improperly buckled or not buckled at all.
Officials of traffic safety in the US have established that children should ride in a car seat that faces the rear until the reach the age of 2, then one that faces the front until 5, and finally, a booster seat up until they can fit safely in a normal seat belt.
Schedule Your Free Case Evaluation
If your child was injured in an accident and you suspect those injuries were a result of a defective child car seat, contact our office to set up your free initial consultation with an experienced Tennessee product liability attorney.
Tennessee’s Child Passenger Protection Act
Throughout the course of the past few decades, Tennessee legislators have been enhancing all state-wide car seat safety laws, mandating those under the age of 6 to be securely fastened into a booster seat. Before this, children under the age of 6 could wear any regular seatbelt. However, a local pediatrician known as “Dr. Seat Belt” based in Murfreesboro had been an advocate for changes of regulation and law in the Volunteer State, and, in 1977, Tennessee became the first state in the U.S. to pass such laws regarding children’s safety in motor vehicles.
Tennessee’s child restraint requirements are detailed in Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-9-602.
Car seats provide the best method of defending child passengers from serious injuries and even fatality in car accidents, so it is necessary for manufacturers to be held to a high standard for safety features.
Defective Child Car Seat Hazards
Child car seats are basically hard plastic shells which are specifically designed to displace the force of a car accident in a way that provides protection to the small bodies they hold. Although some may presume that car seats will protect their children from severe injuries in any accident, the unfortunate truth, however, is that the majority of these devices only protect occupants from head-on collisions.
While it may not be possible to determine exactly how many child fatalities have occurred because of defective child car seats, investigators at the scene of the accident are often first responders. The goal of these first responders is to provide the victims with needed medical attention, in addition to determining the cause of the accident. This role usually will not entail identifying defects in the car seat, nor determining whether such defects directly resulted in the severe injury of a child.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicate that although car seats are usually safe and effective products, further testing and evaluations are needed to reinforce this safety and filter out those with potentially defective parts. Although most companies will strongly resist regulations mandating such testing, this should not be sufficient reason for advocates of safety to ignore it entirely.
What’s more, even if seats do not pass the NHTSA’s regulatory safety evaluations, recalls are not always issued for the product in question. In fact, an average of 70% of all car seats which did not pass crash tests were still sent out to market. In the event that a business has the ability to persuade the NHTSA that their evaluations do not align with that of their own, a recall may be avoided entirely.
Hire A Personal Injury Firm with A Reputation for Success
Essentially, consumers need to know that just because a child car seat has not been recalled, it does not necessarily mean that it wasn’t defective. Furthermore, even in the event that the seat has been recalled, it does not imply that they can evade responsibility. If you suspect your child’s injuries from a car accident may have been a result of a defective child restraint device, you should seek immediate legal assistance from an experienced Tennessee personal injury attorney. Contact our office by phone at (615) 640-HURT or by filling out an online form and schedule your free and confidential case evaluation to discuss how we can protect your rights. There are no costs or fees until we win your case.