Child-injury Attorney Jeff Killino Warns Parents to Stop Using All Recalled Infant and Child Car Seats

Child and infant car seats and restraints are meant to enhance the safety of children riding in cars and other motor vehicles. Non-defective, undamaged, and properly installed seats and restraints are crucial to the achievement of this intended protection. When a particular type of car seat or other child restraint has been recalled, parents need to immediately stop using the seats, have the defects remedied, or find suitable replacements.

recalled child car seatsOn October 20, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the federal agency responsible for children’s car seat regulation, announced the recall of 202,346 Evenflo Company, Inc. (Evenflo) infant child restraints for a defect in the seats’ buckles, which may become difficult to unlatch after repeated use. A child restraint buckle that is difficult to release or that cannot be released at all may prevent a parent from removing a child in time to avoid injury or death from fire or another emergency in which the immediate exit from a vehicle is required for a child’s safety. The recalled restraints include certain Embrace 35 two-piece, rear-facing infant child restraints equipped with AmSafe QT1 buckles manufactured from December 2011 through May 2013. Evenflo will notify registered owners of the recall and provide kits and instructions for replacement of the defective buckles.

Child-injury lawyer Jeff Killino joins the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in warning parents to immediately stop using recalled infant car seats or child restraints until they can be properly repaired or replaced with other seats or restraints safe for children’s use. Attorney Killino and his team of child-injury lawyers and paralegals have been recognized throughout the country for their expertise in child-injury cases, including those arising out of children’s car-seat injuries and deaths. If your child has been injured or killed as a result of a defective car seat or child restraint, our child-injury team can help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Legal Responsibility for Children’s Car-seat Injuries and Deaths

NHTSA issues regulations for the production and design of infant and child car seats, including regulations related to car-seat or restraint buckling systems. The agency has recently issued revised rules regarding LATCH-installed car seats, which became effective on February 27, 2014. The LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) installation is a system that can be used in place of seatbelts to secure children’s car seats. Both systems are considered equally safe when properly used, and the new NHTSA weight requirements for LATCH systems are important to the proper use of LATCH-installed car seats.

Car-seat manufacturers are now required to label new car seats with warnings that LATCH-installed seats should not be used when the combined weight of a seat and child exceeds 65 pounds. Parents are advised by AAA Safe Seats 4 Kids to weigh car seats if they do not contain a weight label, to monitor their children’s weight to be sure that the combined weight does not exceed the safe limit, and to switch to a seatbelt installation (in conjunction with a tether, when possible) when the combined weight reaches the required limit.

How does a regulation, such as the NHTSA regulation described above, affect a manufacturer’s or seller’s liability for injuries and deaths caused by defective children’s car seats or restraints? Inadequate labeling or instructions for the safe use of products can render products “defective” under product liability law and result in the liability of the manufacturer, retailer, and others for injuries and deaths found to have resulted from the inadequate warnings and/or instructions. The inclusion of a label in compliance with NHTSA or other regulations will not necessarily protect a manufacturer or seller from being found liable for injuries caused by a failure to adequately warn or instruct, however. Warnings and instructions that comply with current regulations and industry standards may, nevertheless, be found inadequate under product-liability law.

Car seats and other products may also be found defective in their design or manufacture rather than their failure to contain adequate warnings or instructions. Car seats that cause injury and death are often found to have been designed to be made with unsafe harnesses, straps, shells, materials—or buckles that do not easily open after repeated use—and to, therefore, be defective in design. Car seats that are manufactured in non-compliance with a safe design, through the use of inferior or flammable materials in order to save on costs of production, for example, may be found to contain a manufacturing defect.

The type of defect will not generally have any affect on a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages for injuries or death caused by a product defect, however. Under most states’ product liability laws, the manufacturer, designer, suppliers, assembler, wholesaler, and retailer of most products found defective either in design, manufacture, or as a result of a failure to warn may be held liable for injuries or deaths caused by the product defect. If the product-liability action is brought as a strict-liability claim, these defendants may be found legally responsible for a victim’s injury or death regardless of the defendants’ lack of negligence in creating or distributing the defective product or their knowledge of the product’s defect at the time it was sold.

Defective Children’s Car Seats and Restraints Are a Major Safety Concern

Child-injury attorney Jeff Killino is concerned with the safety of children throughout the country and is recognized not only for his relentless pursuit of justice for children who have already been injured but also for his dedication to preventing similar injuries from occurring to other children in the future. If your child has been injured in a car-seat or other accident, attorney Killino and his highly-respected team of child-injury lawyers can help you obtain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled.