NHTSA To Investigate Seat Warmer Burns
Ever have a seat heater turn on and roast your rear end until it burst into flames? No, well us either, but it seems some people have, as there have been numerous complaints about seat heaters burning backsides.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is now looking into whether or not seat heaters pose a risk to safety, according to USA Today. The agency is looking through numerous reports of burns associated with overactive seat heaters. Oregon law firm, Johnson Clifton Larson & Schaler, say that they know of at least 150 people that have been injured due to these heaters.
According to the report, those with lower-body sensory defects are in danger of being burnt by the seat heaters without feeling anything. Doctors have been petitioning the Alliance of Automobile Manufactures to disconnect this feature on vehicles owned by people with these defects because it seems those with the said defect cannot remember to keep the seat heaters off themselves.
There was one case in particular that stood out, in which a paraplegic man was severely burnt after sitting in a Chevrolet Silverado with seat warmers for two and a half hours. He pressed the button by accident while attempting to roll down the window.
General Motors stated that they have started to print warnings in the owner’s manual about these seat heaters, but who reads the owners manual? In 2003, David Greenhalgh co-authored a 2003 study on the issue. He treated a patient who received third-degree burns after 20 minutes in a car seat where the heater reached 120 degrees in one spot.
So, until the government steps in to aid those with this sensory defect, it’s best to leave that button alone or simply not check the seat warmer box when purchasing a vehicle. Use the car heater instead.