Defective products can cause serious injuries and death to consumers and their loved ones. Virginia’s product liability laws allow injury victims and their families to hold designers, manufacturers, and retailers of defective products liable for their damages. Many product liability lawsuits stem from injuries related to defective automobile parts, medical devices, and food products. However, injuries related to defective childcare products are arguably one of the most traumatizing types of accidents.
According to a recent news report, late last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in conjunction with Fisher-Price, issued warnings to consumers regarding a popular infant recliner. The CPSC and Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have a history of warning consumers of the dangers associated with incline sleepers. Many of these sleepers increase the risk of suffocation and strangulation, especially when babies are unrestrained. To mitigate the risk of infant death, the AAP has published safe sleep guidelines. These guidelines include advising parents that babies should sleep on a firm surface on their backs at all times, their bedding should not have any bumpers, pillows, toys, or blankets, babies who fall asleep in swings or car seats should be transported to a firm surface, and parents should avoid sleeping with a baby.
The popular Rock ‘n Play Infant sleeper had rave reviews, in large part due to the company’s failure to notify consumers of the high rate of injuries and deaths related to the product’s use. The company only issued a warning after receiving numerous reports over several years of babies that died after rolling over from their backs to their stomachs while unrestrained in the sleeper. The company finally voluntarily issued a recall, after CPSC issued warnings regarding the use of the products, and the AAP urged the company to recall the infant sleepers. A more in-depth CPSC investigation revealed that infant fatalities had been reported with other company’s inclined sleep products as well. Similar to the Rock n’ Play, most of these deaths occurred when babies rolled from their back to their stomach or side.