BMW Rear Seat Heater Malfunctions, Burns 6-Year-Old Boy

by Aryn Plax

Sep 3, 2021

A 6-year-old boy turned on the rear seat heater before falling asleep in his booster seat. When he woke up, the malfunctioning heater nearly burned him.

Nico’s mother, Lisa Montanaro, was driving her 2013 BMW X5 home when she smelled a strange odor in her vehicle. Her eyes started to burn, so she pulled off a highway to check her car and refill her gas tank.

She checked on her son in the backseat. She pulled the pillow out from behind Nico when the car filled with smoke.

When she ripped the pillow, it revealed a gaping hole had been burned into the pillow and the backseat.

Lisa hurried to get her son out of the car and stop pumping the gas. Nico sustained a small burn on his hand, and his sweatshirt and part of his blanket had melted together.

“In a million years, we never thought anything like that would happen,” Lisa told WBZ-TV in Boston.

The black rear seats of a BMW. These seats are unscathed, unlike the backseat of Lisa's vehicle.

Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, said that seat heater malfunctions are not common but have been the subject of multiple recalls.

“Typically, they do not result in serious injuries or fatalities, which is the good news,” Kane told WBZ-TV. “The result of that is often times incidents go unreported especially if the dealer or manufacturer decides to fix the vehicle for someone.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes information on any recall associated with a specific vehicle. However, no recall related to rear seat heaters is listed for 2013 BMW X5 vehicles.

The family is now using a loaner car while the dealership determines what to do with the BMW X5.

Source: WBZ-TV, CBS