In a car wreck or collision, an enormous amount of kinetic energy is thrust upon the occupants of the colliding vehicles. This impact energy is spread through the vehicle and all the occupants. In designing car seats, infant seats and vehicle seating systems the goal of safety engineering is to slow down the absorption of this energy to the body and let the occupant ride the energy down slowly. This can be accomplished by properly designed and manufactured seat belts, airbags, padded dashes, and other energy-absorbing materials. Serious injuries and deaths, however, can occur when these basic safety engineering principles are not used in a product’s design, particularly in the design of infant car seats or infant seats.
What is Car Seat Injuries?
The Willis Law Firm represented the family of the child that was in the Evenflo car seat in the rear seat of the wrecked car pictured above. The Evenflo car seat lacked any type of tether strap, which would have prevented the violent movement of the baby boy and his fragile head. The tether strap was not available on this model but was available as an option. This infant suffered a massive spinal cord injury resulting in a complete detachment of the brain stem from his spinal cord. He lived a number of months before his untimely death
CHILD SAFETY SEAT PROTECTION
When an infant is in an auto wreck and the car seat or infant seat fails to provide adequate protection, often catastrophic injuries including massive head injuries, brain damage, spinal cord damage, and even death occur. Many car seats have been recalled due to seat belt buckle failures and releases during wrecks. In other accidents infants and small children in car seats can slip out from the 3 point belt and be ejected into the vehicle or even worst ejected outside the vehicle. Once ejected the chances of a fatality are 13 times higher than if the child had remained secure in his or her car seat or infant seat.
If in an auto accident the child safety seat fails to stay rigidly affixed to the seat of the vehicle, the child’s head and body can be slammed forward into the dash, roof supports, doors, windows or other injury-causing structures inside the vehicle. This rapid movement (whiplash or jack-knife motion) and actual impact of the infant’s head and body can cause major head and brain injuries and serious spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, and death. Further, the lack of adequate energy absorbing padding in the car seat or the proper placement of the padding can also lead to serious and devastating brain injuries.
Other injuries to the car seated child can occur when during the auto wreck the car seat shell, frame or structure itself is too weak to absorb this kinetic energy resulting in a rupture or collapse of the car seat. When this happens the infant can become unrestrained and exposed to the interior or exterior dangers during a motor vehicle accident.
CAR SEAT INJURIES – LEGAL OPTIONS
If you are a parent, guardian or close family friend of a child that you believe has been seriously injured as result of a defective or dangerous car seat or infant seat and you would like to get more information about a potential products liability action or other legal options, then call or write our office for a Free Confidential Consultation.