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Automotive Seat Failures May Put Children at Risk


It is common advice to new parents that the best place for a young child is in the back seat of a vehicle. However, many adults may not know that placing children behind an occupied seat may place them in mortal danger. According to research supported by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS), a vehicle’s occupied front seats can fail in relatively minor crashes, resulting in occupants being thrown backwards onto backseat passengers. For younger children, especially those requiring car seats, the force from these impacts can be fatal.

According to the CAS, children can be placed in danger:

  • When their vehicle is rear-ended
  • When the at-fault vehicle is traveling more than 30 MPH
  • When the child is behind an occupied seat

The CAS has petitioned the National Highway Safety Administration, insisting that they update federal safety regulations and warn parents about the danger to children when an occupied front seat collapses backwards. In the petition, the agency identifies at least 22 lawsuits filed by grieving parents whose children lost their lives in this way. Currently, the NHTSA has yet to take action

Current NHTSA Safety Standards

While many NHTSA safety regulations have come a long way in the past few years, the standards which govern certain aspects of front-seat safety, as well as recommended child placement, have not seen updates for decades. Currently, the NHTSA recommends that all children under 12 be placed in the back seat of a vehicle. Since the early 90’s this recommendation has been made in order to protect children from the force of quickly inflating airbags.

The current regulation makes no mention of the fact that a child’s location behind either the driver or passenger seat may place them in serious danger. The CAS has urged the NHTSA to include this information in future regulations. Until new safety regulations are instituted on the federal level, children may continue to be placed in danger each day that they are on the road.

Compassionate Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the actions of a negligent driver or through the failure of a defective part, Rourke and Blumenthal LLC want to know your story. Our Columbus personal injury attorneys possess more than 75 years of collective experience during which time we have recovered more than $300 million for our past clients. If you have questions about where you stand in your case, contact our offices and take the first step towards getting the answers you need.

We do not collect a dime unless we win your case. Call (614) 321-3212 or request an initial consultation online and speak to an attorney about your accident.

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