Today’s cars, trucks and SUVs contain hundreds of safety features that should protect children during accidents. Still, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, traffic accidents are responsible for about 25% of all unintentional injury deaths in children between the ages of 1 and 13 in the U.S.
For decades, automotive safety advocates have told parents to strap their kids into size-appropriate car or booster seats. They have also said to place children in the rear of vehicles to protect them from airbag-related injuries. Regrettably, though, the back of any car has its own risk.
While rare, seatback collapses have killed dozens of kids and injured many others in the past few decades. These collapses happen when the internal mechanisms inside front seats fail.
If a front seat collapses during an accident and falls onto a child who is sitting in the back, the child may suffer potentially-life threatening injuries. After all, your child’s small size is no match for the combined weight of your car’s front seat and your body.
Your safety response
It is not always possible to protect your child from a possible seatback collapse. You can, though, take a simple step to minimize his or her risk of suffering a catastrophic injury or death.
If possible, you should always place your child’s car or booster seat behind a vacant front seat. This small action may prevent life-altering crush injuries.
Now that a growing number of drivers are learning about the dangers of seatback collapses, car manufacturers may begin to strengthen internal seat mechanisms. Ultimately, though, if your child suffers a serious injury or dies because of a weak front seat, you may have grounds to pursue significant financial compensation.