Some Dangers with the Newer Baby Car Seats:
As an experienced San Diego California Product Liability Lawyer, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of restraining your child in a car safety seat appropriately, and encouraging parents in general to make sure that their children are restrained properly in well-made car safety seats. However, a new study shows that the newer car seat systems, which allow parents dual usage; i.e., to use baby car seats not just for travel but also as a "baby carrier," have led to thousands of child injuries.  The research study was conducted by a pediatric orthopedist, Dr. Shital Parikh, M.D., at Cincinnati Ohio's Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and the results were announced last year at  an American Academic of Pediatrics annual conference in Washington. According to the hospital study, more than 8,700 infants require emergency room treatment every year because of improper use of their baby car seats outside their car usage. The study went on to show that most of these injuries occurred when the car seats were used as "baby carriers" and placed on beds, counter tops, and tables. In some of the cases reviewed, babies suffered injuries when they were not properly buckled and fell out of their car seats. They were also injured when these car seats were placed on soft surfaces like beds.  In such cases, the toppled car seats fell over and placed the babies in danger of suffocation.  The mobility of the baby seats allowed them to be placed in more dangerous conditions and or environment with more potential hazards.

Most injuries caused by improper car seats were the following:

1.  head injuries, and,
2.  fractured arms and legs.

Approximately 50 percent of the child injuries occurred inside the home; and, in approximately 8 percent of cases, the injuries were severe enough to require treatment in a hospital overnight. Approximately 680 babies require treatment in the hospital in this study. Sadly, a total of three babies had died as a result of improper use of the car seats too.  The study was conducted between the years 2003 and 2007.  According to the hospital researchers, parents must be warned about the dangers of using car seats outside the car. Even when these baby car seats are used outside the car, they should be placed on hard, flat surfaces, where they are less likely to topple over and cause child/baby injuries.


Apart from this, there are other potential problems/hazards that can come from spending far too much time buckled into baby car seats. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, a new condition called “container syndrome” is being seen in babies who are placed far too long in their car seats. Symptoms of container syndrome include the following: 1) weakening of muscles; and, 2)  heads that get flattened in shape because of too much time spent on their backs. Another study also discovered  that babies who were buckled into car seats for too long may suffer from a lack of oxygen.  Child experts suggest that these baby seats only be used when babies are traveling.  Usually, we see that babies and infants are spared serious injuries because they have been properly secured in their baby car seats. California law requires babies or young children to be either safely restrained in a child car safety seat, or buckled up depending on their age and height. Studies have shown that placing babies in car seats can reduce the risk of fatalities in an accident by 75 percent. However, it’s also important to ensure that babies are restrained properly and not improperly.   Improper placement of the car seat can actually increase the chances of serious injuries; also, defective car seats can also increase the risk of serious child injuries.

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney
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