Recall alert: Be sure that your child’s stroller and other child care items are safe
By Dean I Weitzman, Esq. on June 26th, 2011
The recent death of an infant in a stroller accident in Lancaster County reminds us that to prevent tragedies we need to keep abreast of recall notices for child care items from strollers to portable cribs.
In a tragedy that cannot even be fathomed, a six-month-old Lancaster County baby died in late April after he was put down for a simple nap in his stroller by his parents.
The horror of the baby’s death occurred after he apparently moved around naturally as he slept and became accidentally entangled in the material of the stroller, according to a story in The Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era newspaper.
The stroller was made by Graco Children’s Products Inc. and had been recalled as part of a product recall of about 2 million strollers in October 2010 because of the risk of entrapment and strangulation, according to a bulletin issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
The baby died of mechanical asphyxia, according to an autopsy by the Lancaster County Coroner’s office.
“The child moved by sliding to the base of the stroller, and his head became wedged between a support bar and the mattress pad, forcing the child’s face into the cushion,” the coroner told the newspaper in the story. “His body was hanging from the stroller. The child’s inability to breathe resulted in his death.” The baby was not strapped into the built-in harness in the stroller, according to the story.
According to the CPSC, four other infants died in similar incidents involving Graco strollers between 2003 and 2005, which led to the recall last year. There were also five reports of non-fatal injuries in that same time period, according to the CPSC.
There have been other recalls of child care items by the CPSC in the last few years.
In January 2010, some 1.5 million Graco strollers were recalled due to fingertip amputation and laceration hazards, according to the CPSC. And in April 2010, some 217,000 Graco-branded drop side cribs were recalled due to entrapment and suffocation hazards, according to the CPSC.
In 2005, Graco was assessed a $4 million civil penalty for allegedly “failing to inform the government in a timely manner about more than 12 million products that posed a danger to young children nationwide,” the CPSC reported.
In a story last October on WebMD.com, Donald Mays, senior director of product safety for Consumer Reports said he was upset that the recalls didn’t happen faster since the incidents involving the first four stroller deaths occurred between 2003 and 2005.
“This troubles me very much,” Mays told WebMD.com. “It seems to me way too long before Graco recalled these products. It seems that for this company there are lots of cases where injuries mounted before something was done.”
Nancy Cowles, the executive director of Kids in Danger, a Chicago-based consumer group, gave the same message last October in a story about the Graco stroller recall published by BusinessWeek.com. “This was a well-known hazard,” Cowles told BusinessWeek.com in that story. “This took a long time. The CPSC is in a position of cajoling to get a recall. It’s a process that doesn’t serve the consumer well.”
Graco does maintain a Web site where parents can register their Graco products so they can be alerted in the event of any product recalls, but families have to be registered so they can be directly notified in case of recalls or product problems.
We here at MyPhillyLawyer recommend that all parents register all such products that are used for their children so they can be better protected.
But true safety takes more than just registering for recall notices.
Parents must select the products they use for their children with extra caution and review to be sure they are as safe as possible.
Used strollers, portable cribs, car seats and other child safety items should be avoided because they might be subject to past recalls that never pulled the items off the market.
Parents should do a child safety items inventory to make sure that they match the model numbers of car seats, strollers, portable cribs, high chairs and the rest to any potential recall lists so they can ensure that the items they are using with their children are safe.
There can be nothing more horrific than the accidental and tragic loss of a child due to something as preventable as a defective child safety product.
Keeping such a tragedy from happening is something we must all be vigilant about with our children.
If you are someone you love is ever injured in such an accident, be sure to call us at MyPhillyLawyer for compassionate, professional and devoted handling of your case for you and your family.
When winning matters most, give us a ring at MyPhillyLawyer. We will stand by you every step of the way.