We love our children, and as such, when we shop for children’s products we expect kid-centered corporations to do the same or, at the very least, adhere to basic federal safety guidelines. So imagine your shock when you’re informed that the pajamas and bathrobe you purchased for your child were just recalled1 for failure to meet federal flammability standards2 for children’s clothing. These federal standards are specifically designed to protect children from the danger posed by open flames, yet products are being sold that are contrary to these standards. If corporations are not adhering to even federally regulated safety standards, then what about those children’s products that are not so regulated?
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission3 sets specific standards by which products designed for children 12 and under must be packaged and labeled. In order to facilitate recalls of children’s products that may (or normally have) caused harm to children, manufacturers are required to label their products with the following information:
If your child was injured by a product designed for children 12 and under and you notice it is not properly labeled, you should contact a New Port Richey products liability attorney immediately.
Federal regulations define “durable infant or toddler products”4 as durable products intended for or expected to be used by children under the age of 5. This definition covers a range of products, including but not limited to, the following:
Such products are required to adhere to the same labeling standards set forth above, but there are additional guidelines that manufacturers must follow when selling these products:
Lead limits: such products cannot contain, in the surface paint or components, over a certain amount of lead;
Plastic chemical limits: Products with certain plastic components designed for eating and sleeping cannot contain over a certain amount of chemicals;
Testing and Certification: These products are required to be tested by federally approved third-party laboratories for compliance with all applicable product safety rules, and a certificate must be issued specifying all applicable safety rules and that the product complies with those rules;
Additional Labeling Requirements: Infant and toddler products must also contain a “product registration card” that allows purchases to fill out their contact information to facilitate quick access to recall information.
The penalties companies face for violating federal safety standards are normally monetary, and recently a children’s toy company was fined $2 million dollars5 and banned from importing children’s products and toys into the United States for failure to meet certain federal safety standards. This particular case was brought by the United States on behalf of consumers, but what is your remedy if your child is injured by a product designed for her? Generally, you can hire an experienced Florida products liability attorney, who can either bring a case against the company on your behalf or assist you in joining a class action suit, which means that there is already a case pending because other children were injured by the same product. If the product was in violation of federal safety standards, and your child was injured as a result of that violation, such as a child suffering from lead poisoning as a result of a product’s paint, then liability is normally clear. However, what happens if your child is injured by a product that is not in violation of federal or Florida law?
Even if the product that injured your child passed all federal safety tests, you may still have a case under a theory of “defective” design or manufacturing. In these cases, it is alleged that your child was injured not because the product failed to meet safety guidelines, but because the product itself was defectively designed or there was a flaw in the manufacturing process. For example, even if a bike was well designed, an overseas’ manufacturer may have failed to properly weld the pieces together as required by the pre-approved design. This can cause your child injury while riding that is a direct result of this defect, and you may have a case against the manufacturer of the product.
Similarly, let’s say the manufacturer did put the product together according to the design specifications of a children’s bike, but the designer was negligent in not taking into account the average weight of the child riding the bike, which resulted in the integrity of the bike deteriorating over time. If you child is riding his bike and it suddenly collapses, causing injury, you may have a case against the company for negligence in their design of a product marketed to children of a certain weight.
As a parent, there is nothing more frightening, or that causes more guilt, than knowing your child was injured by a product specifically marketed as being safe for his or her use. You are not alone. Especially with the recent increase in overseas manufacturing as a means of getting the lowest price point possible, an increase in profits for major children’s corporations often means a decrease in the quality and safety of those products. Although the United States has strict federal safety guidelines for children’s products, this has not stopped online retailers from selling products that do not meet those guidelines.
If you believe your child was injured by a product designed for his or her age bracket either due to safety violations, negligent design, or faulty manufacturing, do not assume that this product has met all necessary standards just because it is on the market. You should contact the Dolman Law Group immediately, as they have the experienced products liability attorneys you need to assess your child’s case, and they may be able to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact them today in their New Port Richey office at (727) 853-6275 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652