On August 24, 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced a recall of Infant and Toddler Hammocks manufactured in Malaysia and sold in the U.S. by MamaLittleHelper LLC, of Frisco, Texas. The hammocks in question were deemed defective because the side-to-side shifting or tilting of the hammock can cause an infant to roll and become entrapped or wedged against the hammock’s fabric and/or mattress pad. As a result, babies can potentially suffocate. The company received at least three reports of the hammock becoming unbalanced, including one report of a two-month old who rolled to the side corner of the hammock and was found crying face down.
Baby or “mini” hammocks have been the subject of numerous recalls in the past, and present significant potential hazards, with the risk of catastrophic injury or death. For example, in 1996, the CPSC recalled over three million light-weight, net mini-hammocks which did not have spreader bars. The hammocks were sold by 10 different mini-hammock manufacturers and importers. Without spreader bars to hold the mini-hammock bed open, the mini-hammocks can twist around children’s necks as they are getting into or out of the mini-hammock, resulting in strangulation and death. When a net mini-hammock is attached to trees, decks, porches, or other areas, it hangs like a thin rope. The mini-hammock can suddenly become twisted around a child’s neck and strangle him. This can happen when children are attempting to climb into or out of, are playing on, or are swinging on mini-hammocks like swings.
Between 1984 and 1995, CPSC received reports of 12 children between the ages of 5 and 17 years old who became entangled and died when using net mini-hammocks without spreader bars. CPSC is also aware of an injury to a seven-year-old girl who suffered permanent brain damage from a near-strangulation in a mini-hammock. Another near-fatal incident involved a five-year-old boy who was found entangled in a mini-hammock but was resuscitated by his mother.
Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has been actively involved in the fight for better design of children’s products, such as mini hammocks. In the Ohio case of Brown v. Consolidated Stores, we achieved a $6.25 million recovery for a seven year old girl who sustained severe brain damage after a “mini-hammock” became wrapped around her neck. We were able to obtain this result in a rural area of Ohio even though the manufacturer of the product could not be identified. We are proud that our discovery efforts in that case helped to have the product involved and others like it banned from commerce. If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a free consultation.