It's been a long, cold winter here in the Hazleton area. Local residents are doing what they can to stay warm.
Heated car seats can be wonderful on a cold winter morning. But over time, these seat heaters can stop functioning properly – and when they do, injury can result.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received well over 1,000 complaints in the past decade about heated car seats that have caused burns or, in some cases, even caught on fire.
While driver’s manuals typically state that heated seats shouldn’t reach a temperature above 105 degrees, seat heaters have been known to malfunction and reach temperatures higher than 150 degrees. You should be aware that a temperature of 111 degrees is hot enough to cause a burn, and a 120-degree seat can cause a third-degree burn.
Most car seats do not have a safety mechanism to detect overheating and turn the heater off.
The risk is particularly serious for people with neuropathy and other conditions that cause nerve problems, because they may not be able to feel how hot the seat is until it’s too late. Neuropathy can be a side effect of diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, certain types of cancer, and other conditions.