Is Your Child’s Car Seat Safe?
In December 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California allowed a defective products class action lawsuit to proceed against a major child car seat manufacturer. While this lawsuit resulted in a recall of 3.7 million forward-facing child car seats, it did nothing to change the fact that four out of every five child car seats inspected in Canada are improperly used.
According to Transport Canada, the safe use of a child car seat can decrease the risk of injury by 75% and the risk of death by 90%. For this reason, Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act mandates that infants weighing less than 9 kg must travel in a rear-facing car seat. Children weighing less than 18 kg must travel in a forward facing car seat. Children weighing less than 36 kg or measuring less than 145 cm tall need to travel in booster seats to raise them to the height of seatbelts typically designed for adult passengers.
What the Highway Traffic Act does not say is that child car seats have expiration dates. It does not suggest buying new car seats to avoid the possibility of purchasing a used model that has previously been involved in a collision. It does not instruct parents to complete owner registration cards in order to receive notification of product warnings or recalls. It does not instruct parents to ensure that their child’s car seat does not move more than 2 ½ cm in any direction. It does not warn parents that their children’s bulky winter clothing can compress in a collision and lead to increased risk of injury.
All drivers are responsible for ensuring that passengers under 16 years of age are properly secured for travel. If your child or someone whose child you know has been injured by a defective car seat or a car seat improperly installed, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
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