Despite major progress made in the regulation of consumer products, dangerous defective products – even for the youngest and most vulnerable members of society – continue to make it into the marketplace by the hundreds of thousands. We not only understand the emotional turmoil a parent endures when a child is hurt or killed as the result of a defective product the parent has assumed to be safe; we fight to hold these product manufacturers accountable for any damage they cause so they cannot hurt any more children.
Parents are besieged by advertisements for products geared toward infants, toddlers, older children, and teenagers; and, most assume these items come with a reasonable expectation of safety. Your child’s car seat would be at the top of the list of products you expect to be safe, especially since the use of car seats is required by law in every state. Though child safety seats have saved countless infants from severe injury or death, some have actually caused injury or death.
Types of Child Safety Seats
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children should be in rear-facing seats until they are two years old. Then they can transition to forward-facing safety seats until they are four years old or exceed the upper height and weight limit of the seat. Once a child is (1) over the age four, (2) weighs over 40 pounds, (3) is mature enough to properly use a shoulder belt, he or she can transition to a booster seat that utilizes an adult lap and shoulder belt. Minor passengers should typically use a booster seat with an adult lap and shoulder belt until those items fit them properly without a booster, which usually happens between ages ten and twelve.
According to SafeKids.org, the main types of child safety seats – along with their recommended uses – include:
- Infant Rear-Facing Car Seats: Also referred to as rear-facing-only car seats, infant seats are designed for use in a semi-reclined rear-facing position.
- Forward Facing Car Seats: A car seat that is intended for use only in the forward-facing position. When a child outgrows a rear-facing car seat, the child moves into a forward-facing car seat with a harness and top tether.
- Backless Booster Seats: A car seat without a harness that raises the child so the required adult lap and shoulder seat belt fits over the child correctly. Be sure to use a regulated seat designed for a car, not for a restaurant. Backless booster seats often come with a detachable shoulder belt guide. Please use it!
- Booster Seat: A car seat used without a harness that raises the child so the required adult lap and shoulder belts fit over them correctly. Booster seats may have high backs, removable high backs, or be backless.
- 3-in-1 Car Seat: A car seat that can be converted into one of three options: rear-facing with a 5-point harness, forward-facing with a 5-point harness, and a booster seat.
- Combination Car Seat: A forward-facing-only car seat first used with a five-point harness and top tether to secure a child over age two. The seat can later be converted into a booster.
- Convertible Car Seat: A car seat that changes from rear-facing to forward-facing that is used until the five-point harness is outgrown by height or weight.
Recent Baby Product Threats
A new ProPublica investigation raises serious questions about the safety claims made by car seat manufacturers. Video shows a child-sized dummy being violently tossed around in an Evenflo booster seat during a side crash test. The seat is currently on the market. Below please find out list of other notable recent baby products recalls that have occurred in the past six months:
- Car seat manufacturer EvenFlo is facing a federal investigation for misleading customers with claims its Big Kid booster seat is safe in a side impact crash. Allegations include the company utilized misleading marketing tactics. While EvenFlo’s marketing claimed the seat was safe in side-impact testing, after reviewing videos of said testing, investigators aren’t so sure. The videos show a crash test dummy being subjected to violent side-impact forces that would likely cause paralysis or even death.
- Following Fisher-Price’s massive recall of 4.7 million Rock ‘n Play sleepers last April, a number of other companies recalled their infant sleepers. Graco, one of the more notable brands, announced it would recall its Little Lounger Rocking Seat. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, multiple infant fatalities have been reported with these types of inclined sleepers. The devices can cause infants to roll from their backs onto the stomach or side, which causes the infant to suffocate.
- Baby product company, Infantino recently announced a recall of three of its infant carriers – including the Go Forward 4-in-1 Evolved Ergonomic carrier, Flip Front2back carrier, and the Up Close Newborn carrier. In total around 14,000 carriers were included in the recall because the buckles can to break and cause infants to fall to the ground.
- Baby Trend announced a recall of its Tango Mini Stroller this January after finding its hinge joints could cause the stroller to collapse with a child inside of it.
- Popular water bottle brand Contigo recalled 5.7 million Contigo Kids Cleanable water bottles last year. Now, the brand will also have to recall the replacement bottles and lids given to consumers. The recall was due to a silicone spout on the lid, which could become detached and a choking hazard.
- IKEA recalled 7,000 MATVRÅ Infant Bibs sold online and in-store last year because the snap on the bibs could become a choking hazard.
Car Seat Defect Injury Lawyers
Car seat safety among children and infants is incredibly important. While parents and guardians expect these devices to properly protect young people from injury or even death in the event of a car accident, unfortunately that isn’t always the case.
Deciding which safety seat to buy to protect children and infants can be one of the most heavily researched decisions parents make. Car seats for both children and infants should protect them from the potential harm of a car crash. At Ramsey Law, we’ve successfully handled multiple cases involving infant and child car seat defects. If your infant or child was injured as the result of a defective car or booster seat, contact Ramsey Law Group today for a free consultation.