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Personal Injury

Defective Cribs And Baby Products Produce Tragic Consequences

From Personal Injury Law firm, RFTM (Rouda, Feder, McQuinn & Tietjen)
Safety should be paramount when children are concerned, but hazards abound causing thousands of children treated in emergency rooms across the country.
Just as any other dangerous product may cause injuries, so may defective cribs and other defective baby products. When a baby is involved, however, the consequences can be even more devastating. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps a watchful eye on the manufacture of cribs and other baby products, but even so, some hazardous items manage to make it into the stream of commerce, often with tragic consequences.
The CPSC has published guidelines and other information to help parents and other caregivers be on the alert for and guard against accidents and injuries relating to cribs and other baby products. Sometimes, however, even the most diligent parents are confronted with the knowledge that a product they have chosen has caused harm to their baby. In such cases, an experienced products liability or personal injury attorney can help determine whether a valid claim exists and provide information and representation throughout the entire legal process, in order to ensure that the injured parties secure the compensation to which they are entitled.

From the moment a child is born, products intended to be used by or for him or her must be selected with safety in mind. Parents and caretakers of babies and young children must be aware of potential hazards in the child’s environment-hazards not only from the incorrect use of products, but also from products not well designed for their intended purpose.

The baby product that appears to pose the greatest hazard is the crib. More infants die every year in accidents involving cribs than from any other nursery product, and thousands more are seriously enough injured to require treatment in hospital emergency rooms. In addition, crib gyms and other toys that stretch across the crib with strings, cords, or ribbons can be hazardous for older or more active babies. The CPSC has been notified of cases in which infants strangled or became entangled in crib gyms and similar playthings.

Baby gates, too, while intended to prevent accidents and injuries, can instead cause harm. A risk of entrapment and strangulation is presented by accordion-style baby gates that have large V-shaped openings along the top edge and diamond-shaped openings between the slats. The CPSC has received reports of deaths that occurred when a child’s head was entrapped in the V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings as the child attempted to crawl through or over the gates. Although these accordion-style gates have not been sold since 1985, parents may still find them at yard sales or in thrift stores. Circular wooden enclosures that expand, accordion-style, may present the same entrapment and strangulation hazards as the accordion-style gates. The CPSC reports that deaths have occurred when children got their necks caught in the V-shaped openings along the top edge of the enclosure, apparently as they attempted to climb out. As a result, the CPSC strongly advises against the use of accordion-style expandable enclosures with V-shaped or diamond-shaped openings.

In addition, every year, thousands of children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries associated with high chairs. Even high-chair-related deaths have occurred. The majority of the non-death injuries resulted from falls when restraining straps were not used and the children were not properly supervised. The majority of the deaths occurred when children slipped under the tray and strangled. Most often, these children were entirely unrestrained or were restrained only by a waist belt. To help prevent these tragic injuries and deaths, high chairs should have both a waist strap and a strap that runs between the child’s legs.

Defective playpens may also pose a risk of serious injury to infants and toddlers. Deaths have occurred, for instance, when the drop-sides of mesh playpens and similar cribs were left down. When a mesh side is down, the mesh hangs loosely and forms a pocket between the edge of the floor panel and the side of the playpen. Infants as young as a few weeks old can move to the edge and fall into the loose mesh pocket, where they may be trapped and suffocate. New mesh-sided playpens with drop-sides have warning labels that alert parents and other caregivers to never leave infants in playpens with the sides down. Older mesh playpens and cribs do not, however, have these warning labels, and many of these products are still in use. Deaths have also occurred in playpens or travel cribs with a rotating hinge in the center of the top rails to enable the product to be folded into a compact package. These deaths occurred when the top rails collapsed and formed a V-shape that entrapped the child’s neck. The CPSC has recalled several brands of playpens with this type of rotating latch in the center of the top rails.

Rattles and other infant toys, toy chests, walkers, carriers, bassinets, cradles, changing tables, crib sheets, pacifiers, strollers, and carriages have all also been the cause of injuries and the impetus for CPSC action. If one of these or any other baby product has been the source of injury to your child, seek legal counsel at once so that you can protect and preserve your right to collect the damages to which your family is legally entitled.

More information on defective products and defects is available at


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