In the last year a sad case came before the Courts. Child, aged 3 at the time, was in a car driven by her mother. Although the car was fitted with both a booster child seat and a forward facing child seat with a 5 point harness, the mother had chosen to fit the child into the booster seat. The child did not fit the age, height or weight criteria for the booster seat.
Unfortunately their vehicle was involved in an accident where the child sustained serious injuries. Although the other driver was at fault, they argued that the child would only have sustained slight injuries if she had been in a child seat rather than a booster seat. The other driver asked that the mother contribute towards the compensation.
The matter went before the Courts. The Judge stated that premature graduation of a child from a harness seat to a booster seat or seat belt could have very serious consequences, making it particularly important for the stated requirements to be followed. It was established that as a child seat was available the mother was negligent for using the booster seat instead.
Although the other driver was responsible for the accident, the child’s injuries could have been entirely or virtually entirely avoided or less severe if she had been secured in the child seat. On balance of probabilities if the child had been seated in the child seat her injuries would have been largely avoided. The mother was ordered to pay a contribution of 25% of the value of the child’s claim.