Study Finds Three-Quarters of All Car Seats Are Improperly Installed Leaving Kids At-Risk


May 07, 2013

At Montlick & Associates our Atlanta car accident attorneys have been representing  injured vehicle occupants for over 30 years, so unfortunately we often see children who suffer avoidable injury because they are not properly secured in a car seat.  The lack of protection that many children receive in car accidents often has nothing to do with parents’ willingness or effort to ensure their child’s safety.  The problem often is linked to the improper fit between the car seat and vehicle seating configuration, or the lack of clear instructions and warnings provided by the manufacturer of the child safety restraint system.

The number of children at-risk from injuries linked to an improperly installed car seat is far more extensive than many would guess.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 75 percent of all car seats are installed incorrectly, which compromises the safety of the child occupant.  The reality that the protections potentially afforded by car seats are not currently being maximized explains part of the reason that auto accidents continue to constitute the leading cause of death for children according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The NHTSA has gone further and indicated that a segment of fatal injuries to children in traffic collisions could have been prevented with proper installation of age and size appropriate safety restraint systems.  The federal vehicle safety organization has indicated that both lack of use and improper installation of child safety restraint systems has resulted in a significant number of avoidable accident-related fatalities involving children.  According to the NHTSA, nearly half of all children who die in motor vehicle accidents are not secured in a child safety restraint system like a car seat or booster seat.  Out of the kids who died even though they were secured in a car seat or booster seat, 72 percent were secured incorrectly.

Car seats seem to be the child safety restraint system that poses the greatest problem for parents according to the NHTSA.  These seats often have multiple harnesses and require digesting a long instruction manual to ensure proper installation.  Some parents surveyed by the NHTSA indicated that installation of a new car seat took them an hour or more when trying to get the car seat secured appropriately into place.  Common mistakes made by parents when installing car seats that were specifically highlighted by the NHTSA included:

  • Forgetting to review the car seat owner’s manual regarding the safest location to install the car seat
  • Disregarding or failing to read the instructions provided by the manufacturer
  • Improperly installing the car seat so that it is forward facing for children under a year old
  • Not securing the safety harnesses snugly enough
  • Installing the car seat so it is too loose
  • Failing to use all safety harnesses whether part of a 3-point or 5-point harness system

Why Montlick & Associates?

Montlick & Associates recently started its new car seat and booster seat campaign that includes television messages, billboards and information on the web.  For more information on this program visit montlick.com/ChildPassengerSafety.

When a product like a car seat is defective in its design, manufacturing or instructions/warnings, this may be the basis for imposing liability on the company that makes, distributes or sells the car seat.  Our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. In addition to its goal of being the best personal injury law firm in Georgia, Montlick & Associates is also dedicated to giving back to the community through the firm’s extensive public service programs.

The firm was recently honored by the Georgia House of Representatives for its 30 years of service with the passing of House Resolution 394 recognizing Montlick & Associates for "the outstanding accomplishments of this distinguished firm," and “for providing efficient, effective and dedicated services to the citizens of Georgia.”   The firm was also named the Most Patriotic Business of 2011 by the Association of the United States Army in Atlanta for its efforts to support the troops, and its CEO David R. Montlick received a Patriotism Award in 2012 for the Southeast. 

No matter where you are located, the attorneys at Montlick & Associates are just a phone call away, and will even come to you. Call 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit online at  www.montlick.com and use the firm’s Free 24-hour Live Online Chat or Free Case Evaluation Form.

Category: Auto Accidents

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Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.