There is nothing quite like a toasty warm seat in your car on a cold winter day. However, burn treatment doctors say that while they may be considered a luxury, car seat heaters are also a danger. According to Safety Research & Strategies, Inc. "Despite their increasing ubiquity, seat heaters are not designed to any voluntary or mandatory industry standards, leading some manufacturers to set the maximum temperatures of their seat heaters in excess of human heat tolerances."
The problem is that victims of car seat heaters often don't realize that they are being burned by until the damage is already done. The burns can be quite serious, sometimes damaging the skin permanently. In fact, the temperatures of some seat heaters reach 160 degrees. Even at 120 degrees, motorists can suffer third-degree burns, USA Today reports.
There have been plenty of car seat heater recalls over the years, but generally they were confined to cases where the heaters presented a fire risk. So far, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to consider seat heaters as a defect merely because their heat exceeds the levels of human tolerance, said Sean Kane of the advocacy group Safety Research and Strategies, USA Today reports.
However, the time has come for that to change, according to experts in the field. "A seat heater that gets hot enough to scorch the seat" has a defect and should be recalled," said Kane.
If your car has seat warmer, make sure that you take reasonable precautions. Don't allow it to stay on for prolonged periods of time and if you feel any sense of a lasting sting or burn, consult your doctor.