Defective Children’s Toys & Car Seats
The goals and desires of parents relative to their children can boil down to a few simple things: We want our children to be healthy, happy, and safe. We do our best to give them everything we can so that they have the best possible childhood and grow up to be healthy and happy adults.
We rely upon the products we buy for our children to be safe. We expect them to be designed with safety in mind, and tested to make sure that playpens, cribs, car seats, or toys will not cause our children harm. When a child is harmed, that can be a highly emotional experience for a parent. Our natural protective instincts and our love for our children drive us to want to ease their pain and to see that those responsible for harming our children are held accountable.
If your child was injured because of a product that was defective in its design or manufacture, you may be able to seek compensation through a product liability claim. If your claim is successful, you may be awarded compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, loss of normal life, pain and suffering, and disability and disfigurement. An experienced product liability lawyer can help with your claim and in getting you a settlement that protects your child’s future.
Common Defects in Children’s Products
Many defects that cause injury stem from faulty design or faulty manufacturing of the product. Others stem from a failure to provide a warning that the product could be hazardous when used as intended, such as a warning that a toy is not meant for children under a certain age.
When it comes to children’s products, we expect that playpens, cribs, toys, clothing and other products are made with a child’s safety in mind. The materials used shouldn’t be harmful, and the product shouldn’t function or be prone to breaking in a way that can cause foreseeable injury to a child when the product is used the way it’s intended. Nonetheless, when children’s products are defective, it’s often for those reasons. Some common defects seen in children’s products include:
- Flammable Materials — Children’s products should be made with flame-retardant materials. In fact, there’s a federal law called the Flammable Fabrics Act that allows the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to set flammability standards for children’s sleepwear, mattresses and mattress pads. The law was implemented decades ago to reduce the potential for injuries to children in the event of a fire, with the rationale that children — especially young children — may not be able to react or take actions to protect themselves if their clothing or bedding catches fire. When clothing catches fire, the result can be serious or fatal burns. When a company fails to design or manufacture children’s clothing or bedding in a way that meets CPSC standards, you may have a product liability claim.
- Choking Hazards — Toys or other children’s products that have small pieces or are easily breakable may present a choking hazard to children. Designers and manufacturers should know that young children have a tendency to put things in their mouths as part of their process of gathering and testing sensory information about their environments. When a product that is purportedly made for children contains pieces that could be swallowed and cause choking, or that could easily break and be swallowed, you may have a claim.
- Lead Paint or Toxic Materials — When children’s products contain harmful lead paint or materials that can be toxic to children if ingested, you may have a product liability claim.
- Sharp Edges — Sharp edges can cause serious cuts that require stitches or even plastic surgery to prevent disfiguring scars. Children’s products should be designed to take into account a child’s developing motor skills and lack of coordination, and should not contain sharp edges that a child could tumble into, fall against, or otherwise become accidentally injured by.
- Pinch Points — Collapsible or foldable products such as playpens may contain pinch points that can catch a child’s fingers or skin and cause injuries. These products should come with warnings that identify pinch points, or be made in a way so that a child can’t cause product to collapse and pinch them.
Defective Car Seats
Car seats are intended to restrain and protect your child in the event of a car accident. When a car seat fails in that purpose, the results can be devastating for your child and for your family. Common defects seen in car seats include:
- Handles that break and allow the car seat to fall from your grip and injure your child
- Faulty buckles that spontaneously release and fail to restrain your child or allow your child to be ejected in an impact
- Improper instruction labeling for use of shoulder harness slots that result in incorrect installation of the car seat
- Harness that lacks pelvic support and may allow your child to be ejected in an impact
- Weak construction that allows the plastic to break and your child to become injured
Consequences of Injury
When a car seat, playpen, crib, or toy is defective in a way that injures your child, there may be a long-term impact on your child. Young children are susceptible to developmental effects and delays when they suffer injuries or trauma. A head injury or brain damage could affect your child’s cognitive development, while broken bones suffered in an accident because a car seat failed could affect your child’s physical growth. Burns or cuts could be disfiguring and affect your child’s social development. Toxic materials could make your child sick, and some may affect your child’s development.
Protecting Your Child
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a number of resources that can help you protect your child including safety guides and tips for preventing accidents and injuries. The commission’s website also provides updated lists of products that have been recalled and the reasons why, as well as a consumer hotline and a link where you can report unsafe products. The website is http://cpsc.gov.
We also recommend checking out this guide to baby proofing your home and improving child safety.
If your child has been injured because of a defective toy, crib, or car seat, you may have a product liability claim. At Staver Law Group, our Chicago personal injury lawyers are experienced at handling these types of claims and fighting for your child’s recovery. Call us at for a free consultation today.