A Quiet Danger: Three Common Types Of Nursery Product Defects

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 74,000 children younger than 5 visited hospital emergency rooms for nursery product injuries in 2011. On average, 114 babies and toddlers die each year from accidents associated with nursery products.

These injury statistics are disheartening because nursery products are supposed to safely give young children comfort and stimulation. Tragically, design defects, manufacturing flaws or instruction errors result in thousands of injuries to kids each year.

The CPSC has identified five categories of nursery products accounting for nearly 90 percent of all nursery product fatalities from 2007 through 2009:

  • Cribs/mattresses (43 percent)
  • Bassinets/cradles (18 percent)
  • Playpens/play yards (11 percent)
  • Infant carriers/car seat carriers (11 percent)
  • Baby baths/bath seats (6 percent)

Now that we've identified the products most commonly associated with baby injuries, let's take a look at the types of defects that are often responsible for the harm.

Three Types Of Nursery Product Defects

Dangerous children's products often result from design flaws. Design defects occur when a product has a foreseeable injury risk that could have been avoided or minimized through a reasonable alternative design or additional safety features.

An example of a design defect is the PT Domusindo Perdana drop-side crib. Exclusively sold at JC Penney, the crib has been recalled because the drop-side mechanism can malfunction, detach or fail, exposing the baby to strangulation or suffocation. The crib manufacturer could have used an alternative design that reduced or eliminated the risk of injury or death.

Manufacturing defects are another type of flaw that unnecessarily put a child's life at risk. A manufacturing defect occurs when a product departs from its design specifications during production.

For example, imagine that a high-chair manufacturer botches the chemical composition of plastic components during production. The defect goes unnoticed and the high chairs are distributed across the U.S. A family purchases one and sets its baby into the chair. Because of the defective plastic, the chair leg breaks and the child tumbles to the floor, suffering bone and muscle injuries.

The last common type of nursery product flaw is a warning defect. Warning defects occur when the manufacturer or distributor fails to provide sufficient warning about the dangers of a product. Warning defects may occur when a manufacturer doesn't make its warning clear enough, perhaps appearing in tiny font in a location with low visibility, or fails to warn of a danger altogether.

An illustration of a warning defect is when a family purchases a bouncy seat for its child. The mother and father read all included documents, but do not buckle their infant in because he is not yet able to climb out of the chair. A day later, they hear their child crash onto the floor after he climbed out of the seat - a feat he had never before accomplished. Had the documents warned the parents to always buckle their child into the seat, the child would not have been injured.

Legal Recourse For Defective Children's Products

New York law permits victims and families to recover damages for injuries resulting from children's product defects. Under strict liability law, the victim may be able to secure compensation from the manufacturer, distributor and seller. This becomes extremely important when the product is manufactured overseas, as most nursery products are.

Product liability lawsuits are complex and involve extensive discovery and testimony from expert witnesses. If your child has been seriously injured by a crib or nursery product, you need an experienced attorney to handle your claim. A skilled New York product liability attorney can help you secure maximum compensation for the injuries, pain and suffering inflicted upon you and your child.

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