Defective Cribs and Baby Beds

When shopping for a crib or baby bed, one of the first things new parents consider is whether it will match the nursery.

It’s not that these parents don’t care for their child’s well-being. The problem is they wrongly assume that if it’s on the market for sale, it will be safe.

At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorney for the Injured, our infant injury attorneys know the life of every child is precious, and defective cribs are responsible for far too many infant injuries and deaths.

A number of recalls initiated in recent years underscore the danger. Some examples include:

  • Simplicity full-size cribs, both fixed-side and drop-side, were recalled due to risk of serious injury or death attributed to entrapment, strangulation, suffocation and fall hazards among infants and toddlers.
  • Delta Enterprise Corp. re-announced a recall of 1 million drop-side cribs with crib trigger lock and safety peg hardware in 2011, after learning of the death of a 7-month-old girl who became trapped and suffocated. This was after the death of another child prior to the initial 2008 recall for the same reason. The 7-month-old girl was sleeping in a recalled crib purchased secondhand.
  • All Generation 2 Worldwide and ChildESIGNS full and portable drop-side cribs were recalled for risk of strangulation and suffocation.
  • Federal regulators filed a lawsuit against the now-defunct Baby Matters, makers of the Nap Nanny infant recliners, in which at least 5 children died and 70 children were seriously injured, due to infants

These are just a few examples. Play yards, swings, bassinets and other infant sleep set-ups have the potential to cause serious injury and death if defectively designed or manufactured improperly.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported an estimated 75,000 children under 5 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with nursery products each year. Associated with 66 percent of all injuries were cribs and mattresses, infant carriers, strollers and high chairs.

The No. 1 cause of injury was falls, and the most frequently injured body part was the head, followed by the face, internal organ injuries, bruises and cuts.

In a recent two-year period, the CPSC reports 336 children died (an average of 112 each year) in association with nursery product use. Cribs, mattresses, bassinets, cradles, play yards, play pens and infant carriers were associated with a staggering 87 percent of all deaths.

Cribs and mattresses alone were associated with 138 deaths over that three-year period. In many cases, the death was attributed to unsafe, fluffy bedding inside the crib. About 17 percent of deaths were the cause of a number of crib-related defects, including:

  • Incomplete assembly
  • Missing, broken or non-functioning components
  • Ineffective crib repairs
  • Wedging entrapments

In some cases, the crib was older, secondhand or may have been reassembled since its first use. Some had even been recalled.

One of the most hazardous infant bedding designs in recent years is that of the drop-side crib, which is now no longer legally manufactured or sold. The CPSC set new safety standards barring models that allowed for detaching, drop-side rails. The purpose of the design initially was to allow for easier access to the baby. But the cribs were fraught with all kinds of problems. In the previous four years, the cribs were associated with at least 32 infant deaths an estimated 3,520 injuries. Those are only the incidents that were reported to federal regulators. Some 11 million cribs were recalled between 2007 and 2011, mostly for the drop-side feature.

The new regulation not only banned drop-side cribs, it also required crib manufacturers to provide stronger hardware (such as bolts and screws) so the bedding is more fully secured. Further, crib slats must be stronger (so babies can’t kick them out accidentally) and mattress support requirements were also increased so babies won’t fallout or get stuck in any possible gaps.

But while retail stores and even secondhand shops are prohibited from selling these older models, there are still many places where they are still in use. Those include:

  • Daycares
  • Hotels
  • Babysitters
  • Grandparents’ homes
  • Cribs received secondhand from family or friends

It is technically legal to use such a device, but it’s also potentially deadly.

Consumers should bear in mind that no matter how many recalls have been issued, manufacturers can still be held responsible for injury or death caused by their products. Per the warranty implicit in every crib sale, product makers agree that what they are selling is safe for its intended use. When that proves untrue, victims can assert a claim for breach of implied warranty, as well as for defective design or manufacture, depending on the circumstances.

Our Fort Myers product liability lawyers understand that if your baby is severely injured or dies as a result of a crib defect, there is no amount of compensation that is going to replace your loss. However, you are entitled to compensation for child care, particularly if insurance only covered a portion of the costs.

Beyond that, civil litigation against defective crib manufactures helps to keep these companies accountable.

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.

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