Bad seat heater burns 6 year old child, scorched by car seat, mother said

Woburn, Mass. (WBZ) — A Boston-area couple say a malfunctioning seat heater in their car damaged their 6-year-old son, burning his sweatshirt along with his blanket and seat. And the boy’s pillow was scorched.

As her 6-year-old son, Nico, was sleeping in the back seat, Lisa Montanaro smelled smoke and her eyes began to burn on her way home from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. So, mom pulled up the highway to check out a 2013 BMW X5 and fill up the gas tank.

When he saw Nico in his booster seat and pulled out his pillow from behind him, the car filled with smoke.

“I started panicking. I was getting gas in my car at the time,” said Lisa Montanaro.

He pulled Niko out of the car and took out his scorched pillow, which was burnt on the seat. When the mother tore it up, it showed a gaping hole in both the pillow and the back seat of the car. There was only a small irritation in Nico’s hand, but his sweatshirt and part of his blanket had melted together.

Lisa Montanaro says her 6-year-old son Nico turned on the heater on the back of the car and then fell asleep.
Lisa Montanaro says her 6-year-old son Nico turned on the heater in the back seat of the car and then fell asleep in his booster seat. The heater malfunctioned, leaving a large hole in the back of the boy and in the back seat pillow.(Source: Lisa Montanaro, WBZ via CNN)

Lisa Montanaro said, “I know it can be fatal.”

She learns that Nico had turned on the back seat heater of the car before she napped, and it went bad. She and her husband, Tony Montanaro, say that they will never drive the car again, and Nico says that he will never take another nap in the car.

“If I didn’t pull over and he would wake up on his own, he would wake up. No matter how he moved, he would move that pillow. Most likely he would have burned himself and screamed,” Lisa Montanaro said.

For now, the family is using a loaner vehicle while the dealership figures out the next steps.

Auto safety expert Sean Kane says seat heater malfunctions often go unreported but can be dangerous.

“They are not common, but they are certainly known and have been subject to many recalls over the years,” he said. “The fact that you’re driving a vehicle, and you see smoke inside the vehicle that you can see [how] This can be really problematic and can even lead to an accident.”

The family hopes their story makes other parents and drivers more aware of potentially faulty parts.

“I think any car that has those heating coils, or those electrical components that are bad, anyone who has one and turns that button, if you’re on a long car ride, you’ve got to get into that car. There’s a fire hazard,” Tony Montanaro said.

Lisa Montanaro says the X5 was a great car up until this incident.

Reporters reached out to BMW for comment but did not respond.

Copyright 2021 WBZ via CNN Newssource. All rights reserved.

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