Monday 22 July 2013
The Importance of Using an Appropriate Child Seat
The sad case of Hughes v Estate of Dayne Joshua Williams recently heard in the Court of Appeal contains a salutary reminder of the importance of placing your child in an appropriate child seat.
In that case a mother placed her young child in a booster seat rather than in the five–point child restraint seat also fitted in the car. Whilst the manufacturer’s instructions for the use of the booster seat stated a minimum age, height and weight requirement, the child only met the weight requirement.
Sadly, the child’s mother was involved in a road traffic accident, which was not her fault, and her child was seriously injured. The child duly brought a claim for personal injury against the negligent other driver who in turn sued the child’s mother for a contribution for failing to place her child in an appropriate car seat.
The court found that the child’s mother was negligent in using the booster seat, as opposed to the five–point harness child restraint seat, and found her 25% responsible for her child’s injuries. Although expert evidence stated that even if the child had been 8 cm taller, and thereby met the height requirement for the booster seat, the child’s injuries would probably have been of a similar severity, the Court of Appeal rejected this argument stating that if the mother had not disregarded the manufacturer’s instructions and placed her child in the five–point harness then the child would probably not have suffered the severity of injury.
Should your child be involved in a road traffic accident, which is not your fault, David Healy or Deborah Lewis here at Sampson Coward LLP would be pleased to assist you in pursuing a claim for your child’s personal injury. However, we of course would wish to avoid you being sued yourself for failing to place your child in an appropriate car seat. As a result, we advise you always to check the manufacturer’s instructions and ensure that your child meets all of the manufacturer’s criteria before making the transition from a full restraint harness to a booster seat.