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Is Your Child Safe in a Booster Car Seat?

Published on Mar 1, 2017 at 3:58 pm in Product Liability.

Booster seats are child safety car seats that are designed to elevate a child to make an adult lap/shoulder combination seat belt fit better.  They are the last step in the process of transitioning a child to using only an adult lap/shoulder combination seat belt.  Children who have outgrown their forward facing restraint system can transition to using a booster seat to make riding in a car safer.  Recent studies have shown that children who use booster seats are 45 percent safer in a crash than children who do not.

However, booster seats are only safe for children who are the appropriate size to use them.  Children who are too small for their booster seat are at risk for experiencing catastrophic injury or ejection in the event of a crash.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that children continue to use their forward facing car seat until they have reached the maximum height or weight limit established by the manufacturer.  Safety advancements have improved these seats to accommodate children as big as 65-80 pounds.  Forward facing car seats are attached to the car at multiple points, preventing their forward movement in a crash.  Forward facing car seats also use a five-point harness system to secure the child instead of a lap/shoulder combination belt.  This greatly reduces a child’s risk of being ejected and eliminates the risk of a lap or shoulder belt injuring the child’s neck or abdomen.

In an attempt to sell more of their product, booster seat manufacturers are marketing their seats as safe for small children.  They claim that children as young as one-year-old and as small as 30 pounds can safely use their seats.  This advertisement strongly contradicts the safety regulations of the NHTSA.

There is also insufficient safety testing for booster seats.  Booster seats are tested using the NHTSA’s standards for harness restraint car seats, standards that have not been updated since 1981.  This leaves a gap in safety regulations.  Currently there are no standards for how a booster seat is supposed to function and properly fit a lap/shoulder combination belt to a child.  Manufacturers are well aware of this safety gap.  Trusting consumers are not.

Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for children.  In the United States in 2015, 663 children under the age of 13 died in motor vehicle accidents.  Restraining a child in an appropriately fitting safety seat in the back seat of the car reduces a child’s risk of injury or death by as much as 75%.

Booster seat manufacturers should be held responsible for falsely advertising the safety of their products.  Encouraging parents to place their small child in a booster seat greatly compromises the safety of that child.  A child’s risk of injury is greatly increased if they are not properly restrained.

Tad Thomas, Louisville, KY car seat lawyer is dedicated to holding car seat manufacturers responsible for their misleading advertising.  Their careless and selfish actions put innocent children at risk.  For a free, zero-obligation consultation of your case, contact the experienced team at Thomas Law Offices.  Together we can work to ensure that every child in every car is safe.