There have been many cases of seat heaters causing severe burns to drivers and passengers in vehicles.
Here are a few summaries of different recall cases:
Back of the seat of a 2005 Chevrolet Silverado that burned a paraplegic reached 145.9 degrees during testing as part of a lawsuit.
A paraplegic man from St. Louis was burned across his thighs a 2004 Volvo S60. He says didn't know he was burned until he saw that a hole had burned in the car seat. "It's the last thing I would have ever thought would happen," says Pruessner, whose lawsuit against Volvo was settled three weeks ago. Volvo would not comment.
Passenger in the front seat of a 2009 Ford Taurus, Peggy Stephenson, paraplegic, suffered from third-degree burns. Stephenson didn't know the heater was on in the rental car and hadn't read the owner's manual. Ford did warn in the manual that those with spinal cord injuries can be burned if the seat heater is used for a long time.
During his 2003 research, Greenhalgh and two colleagues found that one of a Chrysler Town & Country minivan's four seat-heating panels reached 120 degrees. At this temperature, third-degree burns can occur within 10 minutes. Chrysler's heated-seat technology lowers the temperature on the seat after a few minutes and times out to the point the unit shuts off, after burns were reported.
An attorney says she received burns in a vehicle that changed her life. She used to ride horses to relax, but no longer can due to the burns on her legs. She also can't spend as much time in her wheelchair as she used to be able to do. "The government needs to do something, but if you have sensory deprivation, do not use car seat heaters," says Becker of Oklahoma City. "Most people know when their butt is burning, but when you have sensory deprivation, you don't know it."