Defective Juvenile Products: Examples/Facts

Examples of Juvenile Products and Toys Endangering Kids:

Select Injury Facts Involving Children:

Miami and Key West Defective Infant and Juvenile Attorneys Safety testing by manufacturers is often inadequate or even non-existent. Even worse, once tragedy strikes neither the manufacturing industry nor the government acts as swiftly and urgently as they should in order to warn the public or recall and remedy these dangerous products. In fact, and by way of example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in March 2005, fined Graco Children’s Products Inc. $4 million for failing to report hundreds of injury incidents as well as some deaths. Many infants and children are allowed to die or suffer serious physical injury before necessary action is taken to prevent other kids and families from suffering the same terrible fate. Leading child product manufacturers such as Graco, Kolcraft, Evenflo, Century and Fisher-Price, among others, nevertheless, post information about their recalled products on their websites. Further important information regarding recalled infant and juvenile products is also posted at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

However, what too often happens is that manufacturers stop making or finally decide to modify their defective products, when it is already too late, after children have been badly injured or killed. Manufacturers often fail to make a timely recall of the defective products already in the hands of unknowing families. Even when they do attempt to recall products, manufacturers may fail to conduct adequate informational campaigns to warn parents of the hidden dangers in the products being used by their children. Parents, therefore, continue to use or acquire the dangerous items at thrift stores, second-hand stores, at garage sales or as hand-me-downs, often resulting in catastrophic consequences.

Examples of Child Products and Toys Endangering Kids
Scores of dangerous products litter stores all over the United States. For example, a December 22, 2003 report by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer determined that 63% of thrift stores in the State were selling hazardous infant or children’s products. After New York investigators inspected 112 stores, they found the majority of them selling banned or recalled child products or products that did not conform to industry standards. This report is available at the office of the Attorney General for the state of New York. The New York experience is mirrored in Florida and throughout the Country. The report found the following types of dangerous products posing special dangers to children on sale:

  • Draw string clothing associated with 22 deaths and 48 non-fatal injuries nationally;
  • Cribs and playpens that fail to comply with safety standards;
  • Recalled infant swings, carriers and car seats;
  • Infant walkers that don’t comply with industry standards;
  • Bean bag chairs that lack warning labels and have pellets that can be ingested and cause asphyxiation in children; and
  • Infant bath seats and bath rings that lack warning labels.

Product defect cases come in many shapes and sizes and none of them are good for the families affected by them. Numerous cases have been litigated involving scores of children’s products which, among many others, have included:

Back to Top Defective Cribs: There are ASTM standards (American Society for Testing and Materials, now known as “ASTM International”), JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association), CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) standards and CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) requirements that govern both full size and portable cribs. Yet, many full size cribs, portable cribs, play pens or play yards, still being used by consumers, collapse, cause blunt trauma, suffocation or other serious injuries.

Case example: Parents used a replacement, portable crib mattress in a mesh sided play yard resulting in 4 month old baby's mouth and nose becoming entrapped in space between mattress and mesh side of portable crib. The baby suffocated to death. New portable cribs and play yards warn against using replacement mattresses, but old ones still being used do not.

All too often the death or injury is dismissed as an unexplainable accident or medical emergency that could not be foreseen Quite horribly, many babies have suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation (also known as “anoxic brain damage) and have suffocated to death in unsafe cribs. Indeed, over the past 20 years, 1,100 infants are known to have died from crib related injuries while many more have suffered permanent harm.

Yet, medical examiners and other investigators too often mistakenly dismiss crib deaths as a product of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) rather than death due to injury from a defective crib. Aggressive investigation is often required to unearth the real culprit of harm to a baby or child: a dangerous and defective juvenile product.

Back to Top Defective Infant Car Seats: Car seats must adequately restrain children in an automobile collision. Car seats have been known to provide insufficient restraint, to come loose during a crash or to exacerbate injuries.

Case example: Infant killed by airbag after parents relied on implied representations of mfg. regarding proper use of the product. Manufacturer improperly packaged rear facing car seat intended to be used in the backseat of a car in a box with a photograph depicting infant using product in front seat and facing forward. Parents merely modeled conduct after what they saw on box in which product had been packaged and sold.

Back to Top Defective Airbags: Airbags have been manufactured, marketed, distributed and installed in cars with a variety of defects causing injuries to infants and children. These defects have included problems such as the absence of warnings or the use of improper warnings that results in their use in dangerous proximity to infants, defective deployment mechanisms leading to failures of deployment or unnecessary and improper deployment, which can cause serious harm to children or adults.

Back to Top Defective Baby Walkers: Baby walkers are devices that support an infant so that he can move his feet to get around the house before or while learning to walk. When used more frequently, more children had been injured with baby walkers than with any other nursery product. The CPSC estimated that in 1997, walkers were involved in 14,300 hospital emergency room treated injuries to children less than 15 months old. Walkers were also involved in 34 deaths since 1973. Children have been known to use them to walk through the doors of their homes, into pools and over the edge of stairways. The CPSC and JPMA developed a new standard requiring that the walker be too wide to fit through a standard doorway and contain a gripping mechanism in order to stop the walker at the edge of a step.

Back to Top Defective Children’s Clothing: Watch out for strings that can get caught on furniture and pose a risk of asphyxiation. Watch out for clothing that does not meet federal flammability standards.

Back to Top Defective Juvenile and Infant Toys: Toys with sharp edges or points can cause cuts and penetrating wounds, respectively. Toys with small, detachable pieces pose a choking hazard to young children.

Back to Top Defective Children’s Furniture: Furniture can have loose screws, sharp points, unstable legs or a dangerously high center of gravity, among other defects.

Back to Top Defective Playgrounds: Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury to children. Each year many children fall and suffer traumatic injuries in defectively designed playgrounds. These cases may involve the failure to use soft cushioned surfaces on the ground below playground equipment or to prevent falls with proper guards and fencing around elevated platforms. Sharp, broken and poorly maintained equipment in the playground can also cause severe cuts, penetrating wounds and infections.

Case example: Child slides down pool slide and sustains severe cuts from sharp, exposed metal.

Back to Top Products Used In and Around Household, Defective and Dangerous Pools: Homes contain a multitude of inherently hazardous products that require adults to closely supervise children, but some products become unreasonably dangerous due to defects.

Case example 1: Tipping Stove that lacks anti-tipping brackets allowing stove to tip forward so that scalding hot liquid falls on and severely burns child.

Case example 2, multiple cases: Improperly covered pool drains cause suction-entrapment injuries to children and adults, resulting in death due to drowning or anoxic brain damage.

Case Example 3: Defective pool fence allows infant to fall into pool and drown.

Defective pool pumps, defective drain covers and other dangerous conditions such as faulty or defective fencing around pools have resulted in drowning deaths and permanent brain damage to children.

Back to Top Other Defective and Poorly Maintained Premises:

Case example: Heavy, rapidly closing door, lacking proper spring mechanism, severs finger of 4 year old girl being negligently supervised in day care center.

Select Injury Facts Involving Children*
Accidental death or serious physical injuries to children from dangerous products occur both inside and outside the home.

Back to Top Motor Vehicles
Defects associated with motor vehicle accidents may include defective seatbelts, infant car seats, airbags, seat backs, and defects related to the vehicles’ crashworthiness or rollover resistance, among other vehicle defects. These defects contribute substantially to the following Injury facts:

  • Motor vehicle deaths are the leading cause of injury death for children ages 1-14 and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages 0-1;
  • In 2004, 1,638 child occupants ages 14 and under died in motor vehicle crashes; and
  • In 2004, an estimated 214,000 children ages 14 and under were injured as occupants in motor-vehicle related crashes.

All-Terrain Vehicles

  • In 2003, at least 111 children under the age of 16 died as a result of ATV-related injuries.
  • In 2003, approximately 38,600 children under the age of 16 were injured in all-terrain vehicle-related incidents.
  • ATV-related injuries commonly occur due to rollovers, collisions with stationary objects and falls from the vehicles.

Back to Top Injuries to Juveniles in the Home Environment
Defects in the home environment contribute substantially to the following injury facts:

  • In 2003, approximately 1,900 children ages 14 and under died in the home from accidental injuries. Nearly 80% of these deaths occurred among children ages 4 and under.
  • Each year, due to injuries suffered in the home, there are an estimated 3.4 million visits to hospital emergency departments by children ages 14. Nearly 2 million of these visits are by children ages 4 and under.
  • Accidental home injury deaths to children are caused primarily by airway obstruction, fire and burns, drowning, firearms, falls, choking and poisoning.

Back to Top Infant and Juvenile Toy Related Injuries

  • In 2003, at least 11 children are known to have died from toy-related injuries. More than half of these were ages 4 and under.
  • In 2003, an estimated 155,400 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries.
  • The leading cause of toy-related death is choking or suffocation by a toy ball.
  • Riding toys (including un-powered scooters) are associated with more injuries than any other group of toys. In 2003, more than 63,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for riding toy-related injuries.

Back to Top Airway Obstruction Injuries

  • In 2002, 885 children ages 14 and under died from accidental airway obstruction injuries. Of these children, 88% were ages 4 and under.
  • In 2002, nearly 18,000 children were treated in hospital emergency departments for airway obstruction injuries.
  • Eight-eight percent of the deaths and injuries due to airway obstruction were among children under age 4.
  • Sixty percent of infant suffocation occurs in the sleeping environment.
  • As many as 900 infants whose deaths are attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) each year are found in potentially suffocating environments, often on their stomachs, with their noses and mouths covered by soft bedding.
  • Since 1988, at least 100 babies have died of suffocation or SIDS while in playpens with soft bedding or improper extra mattresses.

Back to Top PRODUCT DEFECT NOTE- FAILURE TO WARN: Manufacturers have often failed to warn adequately about the risks of using extra mattresses or replacement mattresses in cribs, play pens or play yards.

  • At least 1,100 infants have died of crib related injuries.
  • Since 1991, at least 130 children have strangled on window covering cords. Other deaths have occurred due to inner window blind cords.
  • Since 1985, at least 22 children have died of entanglement of clothing drawstrings, most often hood or neck drawstrings

Back to Top Burns to Children

  • In 2002, 520 children ages 14 and under died due to accidental fire and burn-related injury.
  • In 2003, an estimated 83,300 juvenile children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for burn-related injuries.
  • Children ages 4 and under are at the greatest risk, with a burn injury death rate more than two times that of children ages 5 go 14.

Back to Top Child Drowning Incidents

  • Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental injury-related deaths among children ages 1 to 14 and the leading cause of accidental injury-related death among children ages 1 to 4.
  • More than half of drownings among infants (under age 1) occur in bathtubs.
  • Since 1983, there have been at least 104 deaths and 162 non-fatal incidents involving baby bath seats.
  • More than half of drownings among children ages 1 to 4 are pool-related.
  • Among children ages 4 and under, there are approximately 300 residential swimming pool drowning incidents each year.
  • Non-defective four-sided isolation fencing could prevent 50 to 90 percent of residential swimming pool drowning and near-drowning incidents involving children.

*Injury facts provided by Safe Kids, Samantha Foundation and Danny Foundation.

Helpful Safety Links

The list of products or mechanisms that can seriously injure children is endless. The above represents a very small sampling of these hazardous products and circumstances that can cause harm. Do all that you can to protect your children by learning about product risks and recalls. However, if you believe a child has been injured due to a dangerous and defective product or a defective toy, contact the defective juvenile and infant toy attorneys at Hannon Legal Group.

The experienced lawyers at Hannon Legal Group are available to discuss your potential case free of charge and with no obligation. Please feel free to email us or call us at (305) 358-3109/ 1-800-216-5970 (toll free).