Friday, 18 March 2011

California's Obese Children May Be at Risk of Injuries in Accident

California class action personal injury lawyers and child safety groups advocate the use of car seats to protect children from serious injury or fatality in an accident. In spite of the fact that there are more than 100 models of car seats available on the market and that there is great parental awareness of the need to secure children in these car seats, thousands of children in California and around the country may be at risk from seats that have not been tested enough for effectiveness or safety.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tests child car seats for protections that are regulated only for effectiveness in a front impact accident. Car seats are not tested for their effectiveness in protecting the child in a side impact accident, a rollover or a rear end accident. Moreover, obese children, a fast-growing growing category of passenger vehicle occupants in America, may be left with little protection in the event of an accident, because the seats that are designed to accommodate them have not been tested effectively.

According to consumer safety groups, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does not have crash test dummies that can be used to test car seats that are for children above 65 pounds in weight. A growing population of obese children has parents looking for car seats that can accommodate these children. Car seat manufacturers have been trying to keep pace with the demand, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t have the ability to test these seats because of the failure to develop appropriate sized dummies.

Car seats with harnesses can hold children who weigh up to 65 pounds. Back in 2002, a four-year-old, 50 pound boy Anton Skeen was killed in a rollover accident after he was ejected from his car seat. After his death, his mother pushed for Anton’s Law, which requires NHTSA to begin the process of developing a child-sized 70-pound crash test dummy. Close to 10 years later, there's still no such test dummy in sight.

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