Following the Rules Could Save Your Child in a Chicago Car Crash

September 14, 2013

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 20,000 children are saved every year because of properly working and installed child safety seats. In an effort to continue to reduce child injuries and fatalities during car accidents, new standards and regulations are consistently being placed on manufacturers as crash test data is being gathered. Because of this, car seats that may have once been considered safe to use may get pulled off of the shelves, and out of motorists’ cars.

When car accidents occur, the goal is to keep every passenger, no matter the age, and protected as possible while inside the vehicle. Since new child safety seat technologies are always developing, the laws, standards, and recommendations change along with them. When car seat manufacturers follow these guidelines, children should be kept safe during a crash, and the seats do the job they were created to perform.

Today, there are several stages of car seats available that are geared at protecting your child based on his/her height, weight, and age. States have enacted strict laws requiring the use of car seats for children under the age of eight. But, no matter how proactive parents and guardians are while using child car seats, one car seat manufacturer’s defect could nullify those efforts.

Our Chicago defective product attorneys at Lane Brown recently learned about one new change taking effect at the beginning of 2014 that will change how parents look at the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system built into most newer cars.

Research has found that this system has not been designed to safely secure a child when the combined weight of the child and seat is 65lbs. or more. Why does this matter? Well, the science behind the LATCH system showed that car seats could safely be secured to a standard car seat by using the tethers and anchor straps of a car seat to hook it in place. No seat belt would be required to provide extra security. This science was based on old car seat technology and design, and older car manufacturer standards. However, at that time, the science did not account for the weight of both the seat and child. The anchors built into standard car seats cannot sustain the combined weight of 65 lbs. or more in the event of a severe car crash.

The new recommendations will require car seat manufactures to tell parents NOT to use the LATCH system that exists in all cars built since 2001. Instead, parents should specifically use the manufacturers seat belt to safely secure the child car seat in the vehicle.

Advocates of the LATCH system say that minimum weight requirements could be changed for manufactures, to make the anchors compliant with new codes. For now, it appears that one way to be safe, and not sorry, would be to use the tethers and anchors jointly with the standard seat belt to ensure that a child safety seat is secure in the vehicle.

If your child has suffered catastrophic injuries due to defective car seats, our Chicago defective product attorneys at Lane Brown may be able to help. We are here to listen to your case, examine the evidence, and seek to hold others accountable for their negligent actions. We know that injury accidents don’t just happen during standard business hours. So we are available at any time to schedule a free, no-hassle consultation, and to help you understand what your next steps should be. Call 312-332-1400 now.

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