How Safe Are Heated Vehicle Seats?

No one likes to sit on cold vehicle seats in the middle of the winter. This is why heated seats have become almost a standard feature over the past few years instead of the luxury option it used to be. As welcome as warm seats may be, many vehicle owners have found themselves asking if this feature is worth it after they have suffered burns and other personal injuries from the seats.

Dangers of Heated Seats

According to the advocacy group Safety Research and Strategies Group, the lack of regulation and oversight for heated vehicle seats has left consumers vulnerable to injury. Instead of any regulations being issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle manufacturers are adhering to company-written and voluntary standards. This means that no warnings have been issued and no recalls for any potential dangers to consumers, despite the number of well-documented complaints of heated seat incidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received numerous complaints in the past decade about heated car seat injuries. who reported incidents of heated seat malfunctions. Many of these complaints involved actual fires igniting when the heated seat option was engaged.

Vehicle manufacturers list seat heaters maxing out at between 86- to 113 degrees Fahrenheit, however, these temperatures can sometimes go all the way to 150 degrees. A third-degree burn can occur within 10 minutes when the temperature reaches 120 degrees, so this fluctuation in temperature clearly poses a serious burn threat to consumers, especially those with diabetes, neuropathy, or paralysis who do not have the ability to feel the danger in time. Children are also at high risk of injury from heated seats.

Using heated seats for too long can result in several dangerous situations. Victims have ended up with skin rashes, lesions, and burns. Leaving the heat on for too long could cause the seat to catch fire.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm for Help

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury caused by a dangerous or defective product, contact our personal injury firm for a free and confidential case evaluation.

At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, our Virginia product liability attorneys know how devastating a defective product accident can be for a family. Several years ago, our firm represented the estate of a man who was killed when the lawn mower he was on exploded and the victim burned to death. Not only was the manufacturer aware that the plastic fuel tank and fuel line connection was insecure, but they had designed a new fuel tank within a year after the victim had purchased his mower and never alerted consumers of the prior defect.

The company also denied there were any other reports of fires caused by their lawn mower, but an intensive investigation by our attorneys revealed not only were there other reports but that the company was fully aware. The jury found in favor of the victim’s family with an award of $2.5 million. That verdict was later upheld on appeal.

If you or someone in your family has been a victim of a defective or dangerous product, contact our office today for a free and confidential case evaluation.