Defective Child Products.
Companies that manufacture and market products to children must be held to a higher safety standard.
And yet, a recent landmark study published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics reveals a child is treated in a U.S. hospital emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury. Another study indicated some 206,000 playground equipment injuries annually require ER treatment. These figures don’t include the hundreds of recalls that are issued annually for products like strollers, car seats, furniture, sporting equipment, foods and clothing that are specifically designed for and distributed to children.
At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, we have an unyielding dedication to the representation of children and families who have suffered harm as a result of unsafe products.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an estimated 9.2 million children suffer unintentional injuries every year. Another 12,175 die. When these tragedies are the result of a company’s negligence in failing to safely design or make a child product, civil litigation does more than grant compensation to the families. It helps to ensure companies are more careful in the future, and other children won’t suffer the same fate.
While not every child injury is the result of a product flaw, there are far too many dangerous and defective child products on the market today – with many of those products made and sold right here in the U.S.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the federal regulatory agency in charge of protecting American children from dangerous or defective products. Officials with the CPSC are responsible for receiving and analyzing consumer complaints, issuing warnings and initiating product recalls. Some examples of defective child products include:
- Cribs and beds
- Baby monitors
- Rings, necklaces and other jewelry
- High chairs
- Pool toys
- Baby gates
- Bath products
Federal regulators take seriously the obligation of manufacturers and distributors to ensure products sold to children are safe. The Child Safety Protection Act of 1994 is one of the most prominent measures. It requires warning labels on the packaging of all children’s toys and games that contain small parts, balls, balloons or marbles. It outlines very specific guidelines for these warnings, and states those not in compliance are misbranded.
There is also the Children’s Bicycle Helmet Safety Act of 1994, which requires helmets to meet specific standards set by the CPSC. Failure to adhere to such standards is considered a violation of consumer product safety.
Further, all toys made for use by children under 14 must comply with federal toy safety standards enacted under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. These regulations outline limitations on lead and phthalates (chemicals used to make plastics more flexible). Such products must also undergo more rigorous third-party testing and certification, and must meet strict durability standards if used for infants or toddlers. Products must also include permanent tracking information, both on the product and packaging, where practical.
But even with all these regulations, there are numerous exceptions, not to mention companies that actively seek to sidestep the process in the interest of profits.
Similar to other types of Fort Myers product liability claims, plaintiffs in defective child product claims must prove:
- The child was injured or suffered pain or losses
- The product is defective
- The defect caused the injury
- The product was being used as intended
It will also be necessary to explore what type of warnings the company put forth about the product. Sometimes, even if a warning was issued, the company can still be held responsible for injury. When the warning language is confusing, overly broad, or too small to see on the item, it may be deemed inadequate.
There may also be an opportunity to pursue a claim on a theory of strict liability. This would be applicable in cases where manufacturers were producing an inherently dangerous product and injuries resulted from use of that product.
In order to prove an item was defective, our legal team will likely consult with experts to examine the product itself to determine what design or manufacturing defects may have caused the child’s injury. This means it will be critical for parents to retain the allegedly defective product and/or broken pieces if the product was destroyed in incident. Photographs can also serve as important evidence.
Our experienced product liability lawyers are committed to holding negligent companies accountable for child injuries inflicted by use of dangerous products.
If you or a loved one has been injured in Southwest Florida, contact Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. There are no fees or costs unless we win. Offices in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples and Port Charlotte.
Call 800-646-1210 for a Free Consultation.