Toddler dies due to left shoulder strap not secured properly, allowing free movement of upper body

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Mother gets a suspended prison sentence due to her 17 month old son dying in car crash.

Alan Mitcheson, for the prosecution, said…
“Although the child had been strapped in his seat, the left shoulder strap had not been secured properly and as a result of that, came out of the seat and struck his head on the roof.”  Source York Press 27th October 2011


The barrister said an expert looked at the car seat and straps used to restrain the child and concluded he was not properly secured.

She told the court: ‘He was of the view Aidan had not been strapped into the car seat properly, in that the straps were too loose allowing free movement of the upper body.

‘If Aidan had been properly strapped in it might have prevented his death,’ she told the court. Source Daily Mail 25th November 2011

Many questions arise from this tragic case:

  • Why was the mother driving erratically?
  • Was the mother distracted by the toddler removing his harness in the rear seat?
  • Had the young boy started to wriggle out of his harness?
  • Were the shoulder straps fastened securely in the first place or was the toddler simply exploiting the design flaw in the harness?
  • Was there a gross miscarriage of justice with the mother receiving a suspended jail sentence?

We may never know the facts that caused the accident, but it is not always black or white that a parent has misused a car seat. Loose shoulder straps does not necessarily mean parent misuse. Find out more about how children can wriggle out of a car seat harness.

Driver distraction is one of the leading factors causing car accidents. Keeping an eye on your little one on the back seat can increase the risk of an accident exponentially.