Articles Posted in Child Injury or Death

The federal government has sued the manufacturer of the Nap Nanny, sold in stores nationwide including San Francisco, because the products’ maker has failed to voluntarily recall it. As San Francisco child injury lawyers, with a long history of expertise in infant safety recalls, we applaud the efforts of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The problem with the product is that “at least five infant deaths and more than 70 complaints” of infants falling out have been provided to the federal government. They say that the maker of this product was not providing sufficient warnings to consumers about the dangers and risks associated with it.

The Nap Nanny has been sold for several years and includes a foam pad with a cover made of fabric. The baby is supposed to be strapped into a three-point harness. The product has been sold in several versions, but essentially it is a baby recliner designed for sleep, rest, and play.

The original Nap Nappy was recalled in July of 2010 after one infant died and 22 others were found hanging out or falling over the edge. The CPSC says that the manufacturer has not warned consumers of the risks of using it, even after these incidents occurred.

According to the CPSC, the various generations of the product contain “defects in the design, warnings, and instructions that pose a substantial risk of death and injury to infants.” The government has asked that the manufacturer cease selling the products and let the public know that it is not only defective, but that they are entitled to a full refund for it.

The CPSC noted that after its staff had discussed this course of action, the company refused to recall the product voluntarily in a way that “would address the hazard posed by consumer use of the product in a crib or without the harness straps being securely fastened.” Instead, the manufacturer says that they “stand behind the safety of the product when used as instructed.” They say that parents whose children have been injured or have died did not use the product correctly and that the product is not dangerous when used properly.

We urge parents to review their use of this and other child and infant products. If you purchased one of these products, return it to the store where it was purchased and let them know you are aware that the federal government says it is unsafe.
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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is quietly stopping the entry of bad toys into the United States. The 2012 statistics are impressive. Two million toys that are considered to be dangerous and to violate the safety rules and regulations in our country, were stopped at the borders and prohibited from getting into the hand of our kids. This is particularly important as the holidays approach and parents are out buying toys they hope and expect will be safe for their children. As California consumer law and child injury lawyers, we applaud these efforts.

The cumulative effect of these border stops amount to a big effort by the border patrol and the CPSC. Estimates are that in the past four years, over eight million units of toys that amount to about 2,400 types of toys have been seized and prohibited from arrival over the borders for failure to comply with our consumer safety standards.

It is still very important that parents pay attention when purchasing toys for age appropriateness. We have previously warned about buying toys and cribs at garage sales or as hand me downs. Sometimes these older toys or cribs have been taken out of store circulation as unsafe, but have remained in the homes of parents. A well-meaning relative might provide a toy to a child that is not safe and has been recalled. This is dangerous and can lead to injury or fatality.

For example, this past year, the “CPSC recalled 38 toys, three of which involved a lead violation.” Although toy recalls have been declining, there are still many every year. In 2011 there were 34. Fatalities related to toys have declined as well. In 2011 there were 13 in total, down from 19 in the previous year. Fatalities can involve choking, asphyxiation and drowning.

Things like balloons can become fatal in the hands of a child. Kids can choke or suffocate on balloons that are deflated or broken. Small toys and their smaller parts are always something to be avoided with little, especially little ones under the age of 3.

Another area of concern are scooters or other riding toys. We have seen kids riding these on neighborhood streets, along with cars. This is unwise. When riding it is important that parents are present and that kids wear helmets. Other products that have shown to be dangerous to kids are magnets. Kids under the age of 14 should not be around high-powered magnets. If there are in proximity to these, an adult should be present.
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As a leading California and national law firm in the area of child and infant safety, we begin our series on holiday safety — this time our focus in on toys. As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles go out to purchase toys for the children in their lives and as we donate toys to toy drives, it is very important to pay attention to what we are purchasing for kids.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “stronger federal rules are making a positive impact and restoring confidence in the safety of toys.” Toy safety at this time of year is vital to the health and happiness of our children. The federal government cannot totally stop manufacturers from making unsafe toys that end up harming children, but they are trying to make toys safer and we applaud that effort. Most often, recalls happen because several children have already been injured and we learn that a toy or crib or crib bumper is unsafe after the fact.

The federal agency has noted that safeguards are now in place for important areas of child safety. For example, lead content has been limited, voluntary toy standards are now mandatory standards, there is now third party testing and certification required for toys designed for children under 12, there are new limits for cadmium in toys, and the agency is now working closely with Homeland Security to track and seize dangerous toys coming into the country from other countries.

Recently, we posted on the serious dangers of what is called mild traumatic brain injury. These injuries are not visible on an MRI, but can cause life long impairments in adults and children. Now the CDC has issued a statement that even mild traumatic brain injuries can result in life-long impairments.

As brain injury lawyers having represented the victims of MTBI, we are well-aware of the dangers of these injuries and the need for the public to be aware of them. As noted by the CDC, “symptoms may appear mild, but the injury can lead to significant life-long impairment affecting an individual′s memory, behavior, learning, and/or emotions.”

The CDC’s statement about these brain injuries was part of a release of some sobering statistics about US youth and brain trauma. The CDC reports that over the past decade, head injuries resulting in emergency room visits have risen by 60 percent. These head injuries are mainly due to accidents involving kids playing football, soccer, and basketball, riding bicycles and playground activities.

The consumer protection lawyers of the California Injury Attorney Blog have been at the forefront of the call for crib safety. Our law firm handled the 2005 infant death case that involved a Simplicity drop side crib — that case ultimately led to a recall of over 1 million drop side cribs and the ban on them that has just gone into effect across the country.

As personal injury and wrongful death lawyers, we have represented the parents and families of infants who have been injured, or have tragically died, due to defective and dangerous products such as cribs, basinettes and crib bumpers.

The implementation of crib safety standards is a step in the right direction for infants and families throughout the country. Last December, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new crib standards that are mandatory and have now gone into effect.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission cautions the American public gearing up for July 4th celebrations and has issued a warning about sparklers, bottle rockets and small firecrackers. These small celebratory fireworks can be deceiving in that their size leads us to believe these are harmless. As California injury attorneys, we want you to know that they are not harmless.

In 2010, nearly 2,000 consumers visited emergency rooms due to injuries from these small fireworks in the 30-day period prior to the holiday. And over 8,500 were injured and visited hospital emergency rooms during that year due to both legal and illegal fireworks.

Overall, there were 6,300 reports of injuries from fireworks and the hands, face and head were most likely to be harmed. Many of these injuries involved small fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, and sparklers. Even more worrisome is the fact that fireworks injury statistics show that often victims are under the age of 15 in 40 percent of the incidents.

As California injury lawyers, we want our readers to be aware of a potential injury hazard that comes along with spring and summer outdoor fun. A recent accident in New York shown on news outlets around the country has caught the attention of viewers and highlighted the potential dangers of large inflatable slides and houses, also known as “bounce houses.”

A Long Island spring party turned very dangerous when one of these houses pulled away from its moorings and became airborne. There were no children in the inflatable toy or two-story slide when this happened, but many were injured. One woman was seriously injured and 12 others sustained more mild injuries. Parents were stunned when the toy began to fly into the air, many of them previously unaware of the potential for danger.

The Associated Press reports that this is not the first time such an accident has happened with these bounce houses. They say about 10 have been “toppled by winds or collapsed under too much weight in the past two months, injuring more than 40 people” – this information was located on RideAccidents.com.

The Centers for Disease Control recently published a list of the states with the highest cost of fatal motor vehicle crashes. California has the dubious distinction of being first on the list — and as lawyers who represent those impacted by serious accident, we know full well the costs to victims of these tragedies as well as to their families.

The total estimated cost of these accidents in $41 billion — and half this cost is from only ten states. California’s $4.16 billion in costs for medical and work losses exceeds all other states. We are followed by Texas, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The findings were based on data from 2005 — the most recent available. The reason for the high costs is not explained in the findings, but it is clear that the costs of fatal crashes is very significant and in the opinion of the CDC, preventable. The CDC has issued some safety recommendations along with the findings.

The New York Times and other news services reported last month on a major turn-around for parents and caregivers of young children with regard to car safety. The California Injury Attorney Blog often focuses on child safety and accident avoidance and wants to ensure that all parents and others are aware of the new recommendations that pediatricians have recently issued for infants and toddlers.

The new recommendation is that children should ride in rear-facing car seats until the age of two — twice as long as was previously recommended. The prior recommendation was that infants could move to front-facing car seats at one year or 20 pounds.

The journal Pediatrics published the safety recommendation which is supported by research that found kids under the age of two years are 75% less like to die or suffer serious injury when they are seated facing the rear. Parents and caregivers can consult the safety chart on the healthykids.org site for specific information and guidelines.

The California Injury Attorney Blog is pleased to provide readers with information about the new crib rule that has been issued by the federal government.

Our affiliated consumer law firm, San Francisco’s Hersh & Hersh, has been at the center of the cases involving infant deaths due to defective and unsafe cribs. Our work was instrumental in securing major recalls concerning infant safety and we were involved in the largest recall of cribs and bassinettes in American history.

Many Americans have been asking the CSPC questions regarding the new rules. According to the federal government, most questions have concerned the drip side, but the new standard impacts more than the drop side and includes: the crib’s mattress support, slats, and hardware.