As a parent, your worst nightmare is anything bad happening to your child. You expect scrapes or bruises, maybe a broken bone, but you hope you never witness anything more than that.
Unfortunately, many parents aren’t so lucky. Every year, defective children’s products hurt thousands of kids. In the best case scenario, these children receive only minor injuries. In the worst case scenario however, faulty products seriously injure or kill children.
What is a Defective Children’s Product?
Any product has the potential to be defective because manufacturers are more concerned with their bottom line than they are with the safety of their customers.
A product can be defined as defective when:
- It has a dangerous design
- It has been negligently constructed or assembled
- It lacks appropriate warning labels
Even if a product isn’t considered defective by the above standards, it can still have a flaw that’s harmful to kids. This risk is even further increased by the fact that most children would not know a defective or dangerous product when they see one. Kids would be unlikely to say anything about it to an adult either.
Examples of Defective Kids’ Products
Over the years, there have been hundreds of recalls for all types of products, many of them made for babies or children. Some items that are commonly found defective include:
- Car seats
- Cradles, cribs, and beds
- Booster seats
- Baby bath tubs/bath seats
- Changing tables
- Bottles and sippy cups
- Playground equipment
- Trikes, bikes, skates, and skateboards
Common Types of Defects
As you can see, there are a lot of products that can harm children. Most of these defects are caused by bad manufacturing or design, but injuries can happen if a product isn’t labeled with age appropriate warnings.
Common types of defects in children’s products include, but aren’t limited to:
- Use of flammable materials
- Faulty wiring in electric toys
- Small or loose pieces of toys
- Sharp edges
- Long strings or ropes
- Top heavy furniture/items
- Use of toxic materials
Recent Children’s Product Recalls
Safety shouldn’t be a question when buying a children’s toy. Nonetheless, kid’s toys and product recalls are extremely common. In the last 12 months, there have been 2,156 recalls for children’s products and toys. Here are a few of the recalls that were issued in the last 6 months:
- 7, 2016: Playworld recalled 1,300 of their playground Lightening Slides because the welding could crack and separate, allowing fingers or toes to get caught inside and posing an amputation hazard.
- October 27, 2016: 3,000 of Perego’s 850 Polaris Sportsman ride-on vehicles were recalled due to a defect that caused the motor to overheat and cause fires and burns.
- October 6, 2016: Summer Infant recalled 86,000 of their Lil’ Luxuries baby bath tubs because the supporting sling could break and lead to drowning.
- September 30, 2016: Sammy’s Mile Baby Food by Graceleigh, Inc was recalled because it contained bacteria responsible for meningitis and some blood infection.
- September 21, 2016: 29,742 of Evenflo’s Evolve 3-in-1 Combo Booster Seats were recalled due to a design flaw that made it possible for kids to hit the release button on the harness.
- September 8, 2016: Toys ‘R’ Us recalled 53,000 of their pacifier clips because the spring could break and become a choking hazard.
- August 25, 2016: Mars recalled 52,400 of M&M’s jewelry for high lead levels.
- August 23, 2016: 91,000 ALEX Toys infant building play sets were recalled due to a choking hazard.
- July 21, 2016: Lorex recalled 26,000 baby monitor in the U.S. and 8,000 in Canada because the batteries could overheat, swell, and cause a burn risk.
- July 7, 2016: 217,600 Pacific Cycle jogging strollers were recalled due to a defect that allowed the front wheel to detach while in use.
Defective Children’s Products Injuries
Below are some of the more common ways kids can be harmed by defective products:
- Organ failure
- Broken bones
- Cuts, scrapes, or bruises
- Head entrapment
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Hearing loss
- Vision loss/eye injuries
How You Can Keep Your Kids Safe
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your kids safe from defective or dangerous products. If you know about the potential dangers products can have, you’re going to be a lot more careful when making purchasing decisions. Keep the following tips in mind when buying stuff for your kids:
- If fabric is a part of the product, make sure it is flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Check painted toys to make sure lead-free paint is used.
- Purchase only non-toxic art supplies and crafts.
- Only buy crayons and paints that read “ASTM D-4236” on the package. This is an indicator they have been inspected by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
- Always consult product packaging to look for age restrictions/warnings.
- Make sure toys don’t have small pieces that are choking hazards. If you have older kids who play with board games or Legos, make sure to keep these items out of reach of younger siblings.
- Do not leave any child unattended with a battery-powered toy. Some of these have faulty wiring that can cause fires and burns.
Additionally, there are several government entities that monitor and issue recalls. The Food and Drug Administration handles things like baby formula and medications. You can monitor FDA recalls by clicking here.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission posts press releases with recall information for defective children’s products, as well as tools, machinery, and household items. They offer multiple resources to help parents keep kids safe. Visit the CPSC website to:
- Report an unsafe product
- Browse current and past recalls
- Get the latest on toy recall facts and stats
- Find educational resources
- Read regulations, laws, and standards
Determining Liability for Defective Children’s Products
Determining liability in a defective children’s product lawsuit can be very difficult. The theory of strict liability mandates that the manufacturer may be responsible for injuries or deaths associated with their products. In some cases, retailers and distributors can be held accountable as well.
Most manufacturers, distributors and retailers do whatever they can to limit their potential for liability. Like an insurance company in a car accident, the entities responsible for making defective children’s products have plenty of lawyers to protect them. They are prepared to fight and they will not make getting a settlement an easy task. Bringing a lawsuit against a manufacturer, retailer or distributor will require excellent legal representation.
If your child was injured or killed by a faulty children’s toy or product, do not sit idly by. The experienced defective children’s product lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo L.L.P. may be able to help you claim the compensation you’re entitled to. We will review your situation, as well as product specifications and design elements, to determine whether you have a solid case. Call now to schedule your free consultation at 646-493-8516.