Car seat heaters: a potential hazard for burns

J Burn Care Rehabil. Sep-Oct 2003;24(5):315-6. doi: 10.1097/01.BCR.0000085877.34758.0D.


Car seat heaters have gained popularity in America and worldwide. They offer comfort by heating the sitting surface to a soothing temperature. Several cases of heating-element malfunction resulted in burn injuries and have triggered recalls of thousands of cars by the manufacturers. We present a case of a 48-year-old patient with long-standing paraplegia who sustained third-degree burns on his buttock during the initial drive of a new car with seat heaters. Car seat heaters can cause severe burns. Patients with decreased sensation or immobility are at increased risk and should not use car seat heaters. This case illustrates the need for design modifications and consumer education regarding the risks associated with car seat heaters.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles
  • Burns / etiology*
  • Buttocks / injuries
  • Heating / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypesthesia / complications*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / complications*