Consumer Protection

W.A.T.C.H. Out! 2016 Summer Safety for Children

28 June 2016

On June 28th, the consumer advocacy group W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.) presented its 2016 Summer Safety Report at its annual “Safe Fun in the Sun” conference at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

The conference addressed “Summer Safety Traps” of common outdoor activities and highlighted some of the many different types of hazards of which parents and caregivers should be aware in order to prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children this summer. One of the primary goals of this conference was to increase awareness about hazards associated with some summer recreational activities and products so that these incidences become less frequent. There are especially high rates of child injuries during the summer in particular, when almost half of all injury-related deaths in children occur, according to W.A.T.C.H.

Some of the summer activities that were discussed at the conference included swimming and drowning hazards, toys made for outdoor play like remote helicopters and other flying objects, realistic-looking toy guns, projectile toys, and “hoverboards”, the motorized two-wheeled scooters that have gained particular popularity over the past year.

If you have questions about children’s toys or products, please contact an attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.

Catastrophic Brain Injury of Child Prompts Recall of Residential Elevators Due to Crushing Hazard

20 March 2015

On March 19, 2015, the government announced a recall of Elmira Hydraulic residential hydraulic elevators, installed in homes with multiple floors. Despite the foreseeability of such elevators being used in environments with small children, these products were sold with a significant defect –  the elevator can operate while the gate door is open, posing a crushing hazard.

The distributor, Coastal Carolina Elevators, reportedly received three reports of incidents with the elevators, including a catastrophic brain injury to a 10-year-old boy from Baltimore, Maryland.

Hazards presented by products manufactured and sold for use in home environments, where young children are expected to be living and playing, account for numerous deaths and significant injuries each year. It is incumbent upon designers, manufacturers and retailers of such items to consider the environment of end use, and understand the expected ages of the consumers. This duty is heightened when the hazard is potentially life threatening or life altering. Often, relatively simple and feasible safety devices can and should be implemented. For example, with regard to the residential elevators, an engineering change ensuring that the elevator cannot operate unless the door is closed should have been implemented, similar to how many elevators operate for safety reasons.

Parents and caregivers – please carefully inspect the operation of home appliances and products. Do not assume that because a product is sold in the United States, that it is necessarily safe. This example highlights that safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers, and that in some instances, the standards themselves are inadequate..

If you or a member of your family has questions about a hazardous product, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

Government Announces Recall Of Play Yard Due To Strangulation Hazard

11 December 2014

On December 9, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of about 10,000 “Dream On Me Incredible” Play Yards. A determination was made that the play yard’s rails can collapse, presenting a strangulation hazards to young children.

The play yards, which can be folded for storage, are made with a steel, powder-coated frame base with rolling, hooded casters, and a fabric and mesh covering that comes in a various colors. The play yard includes a changing top, a toy bar with soft toys for entertainment, a side pocket for storage and a carrying case. The children’s product was sold online by a variety of internet retailers, including Amazon, Kohls, Toys R US, and WalMart from March 2010 through January 2014.

A recently-instituted safety standard require that play yards meet the following requirements:

  1. Side rails that do not form a sharp V when the product is folded. This prevents a child from strangling in the side rail
  2. Stronger corner brackets to prevent sharp-edged cracks and to prevent a side-rail collapse; and
  3. Sturdier mattress attachments to the play yard floor to prevent children from getting trapped or hurt.

The new play yard standard is one of many safety standards that CPSC passed as part of the Danny Keysar Child Product Safety Notification Act, or what is called “Danny’s Law.” Danny Keysar was killed in Chicago in 1998 when a previously recalled play yard in which he was napping collapsed, suffocating him.

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, failures regarding safety issues associated with children’s products may contribute to a product’s hazards. There is simply no excuse for a manufacturer to place a defective children’s product into the streams of commerce, particularly one exhibiting a hazard that is well known, with the potential to cause significant personal injury or wrongful death. If you or a family member have questions about a defective play yard, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Hazards Lurking In The Toy Aisle This Holiday Season

4 December 2014

Parents and caregivers should be aware that many toy hazards can be found on toy shelves this holiday season. Some dangers may be evident, however many hidden hazards exist. Please be sure you are informed about what hazards to look for, and importantly – do not assume a toy is safe merely because it is offered for sale. In some instances, testing is inadequate. Also, many existing regulations are inadequate, or have loopholes that allow defective toys to make their way into homes and schools.

A dangerous toy may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

The non-profit organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has been at the forefront of child safety issues for decades. Please check out its website at www.toysafety.org for this year’s “Ten Worst Toys” list, as well as other safety tips and information. A recent article regarding the 2014 list, as well as important related issues, can be found at http://www.nationaljournal.com/health-care/the-most-dangerous-toys-in-america-20141202

EXPLOSIONS CAUSE MASSIVE TAKATA AIRBAG RECALLS

17 November 2014

Nissan has recently increased the number of vehicles recalled in the United States for passenger airbags manufactured by the Japanese-based Takata. The massive airbag recall has affected over two dozen brands of vehicles in the United States.

Defective Takata air bags have been the subject of NHTSA safety alerts after reports of incidents in which the automobile restraint systems exploded and hurled metal shrapnel into the heads and bodies of drivers and passengers.

While airbags are one of the major safety innovations in the auto industry, the Takata recalls have now caused a shift in safety concerns for consumers.

At least two deaths and many injuries have been associated with the defective Takata air bags, which were installed in vehicles made by Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and BMW in various model years ranging from 2000 to 2008. About 5 million of the cars are Hondas.

These vehicles were all originally sold or currently registered in geographic locations associated with high absolute humidity, specifically, vehicles sold or currently registered in Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Florida and adjacent counties in southern Georgia, as well as the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Safety regulators believe the problem might be associated with hot, humid climates. But other safety experts, such as Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety, said it’s not clear how much of a factor weather has been, believing there should be a wider recall.

To read more about this topic please visit:

http://www.businessinsider.com/r-nissan-expands-us-recall-for-faulty-takata-air-bags-to-52738-vehicles-2014-11

Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has assisted many families over the years whose lives have been tragically and forever altered as the result of a significant personal injury or wrongful death due to a car accident or automobile defect.  If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C., please contact us. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We are here to answer your questions and discuss how to protect your legal rights.

Stroller Activity Trays Recalled Due To Strangulation Hazard

3 September 2014

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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a recall for about 860 Tray Vous™ snack and activity trays with connectors sold in the United States and Canada. The opening between the recalled tray and stroller seat bottom allows an unharnessed child’s body to pass through, but could trap a child’s head, posing a strangulation hazard.

The snack and activity trays have connectors that fit into strollers; the three-piece units include a black plastic tray with a cup holder, a left connector and a right connector.  The products were sold at Dainty Baby in Brooklyn, N.Y. and other juvenile product stores nationwide, and online at daintybaby.com, mystroller.com, pacifier.com and trayvous.com from May 2011 through June 2012 for about $50.

At any point during the infant swing design and manufacturing process, significant failures may contribute to products’ hazards, including (1) missteps during the early design stages; (2) inadequate testing to ensure safe performance; and (3) marketing efforts that include inadequate instructions and warnings, or even fail to include any relevant cautions. Even one act of negligence during the process from a product’s conception to its sale can cause catastrophic injuries and wrongful death once the product reaches unsuspecting consumers.

If you or a family member have questions regarding this recall, or generally regarding personal injuries, a defective product or negligence, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S., call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Child Deaths Lead to Beanbag Chair Recall

22 August 2014

About 2.2 million bean bag chairs, made by Ace Bayou Corporation, are being recalled after two children were able to crawl inside, leading to their suffocation deaths. The chairs are made with zippers, which are easily opened by curious youngsters. A 13-year-old boy from McKinney, Texas, and a 3-year-old girl from Lexington, Kentucky, were found dead inside the chairs after they suffocated from a lack of air and inhaled the chair’s foam beads.

Significantly, the industry “voluntary” standard requires non-refillable bean bag chairs to have closed and permanently disabled zippers, to prevent such tragedies from occurring. Tragically and inexplicably, the standard was ignored by this manufacturer.

The chairs were sold at Bon-Ton, Meijer, Pamida, School Specialty, Wayfair and Walmart stores and online at Amazon.com, Meijer.com and Walmart.com. They cost between $30 and $100 and were sold before July 2013. They come in all different colors, shapes, fabrics and sizes.

Suffocation hazards presented by children’s products, as well as products made for homes and schools where young children are expected to be living and plating, account for numerous deaths and injuries each year. A dangerous beanbag chair, or other furniture items such as cribs and juvenile beds,  may have been poorly manufactured or designed, misleadingly advertised, inaccurately labeled, or irresponsibly sold to or for children, many of whom are too young to appreciate the toy’s hazards.

Parents and caregivers – please carefully inspect any such items prior to purchasing. Do not assume that because a product reaches retail shelves, it is necessarily safe. This example highlights that safety standards are not always followed by manufacturers.

If you or a member of your family has questions about a dangerous toy or hazardous product, please contact us. We will answer any questions you might have, and can advise regarding your legal rights.

Oeuf Recalls Sparrow Cribs Due to Entrapment Hazard

24 July 2014

 

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On July 22, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled a particular model of cribs due to the safety hazard it posed to infants.

Over 14,000 Oeuf “Sparrow Cribs” were recalled this past Tuesday. Oeuf, a nursery furniture retailer which specializes in modern eco- friendly nursery furniture, issued a recall including four models of their Sparrow Cribs. The recalled cribs were manufactured between July 2007 and January 2014 and were sold in specialty stores nationwide and online for $800.

The CPSC reports that the slats/spindles and top rail of the crib can detach and pose an entrapment hazard to infants. Consumers should immediately stop using the cribs.

Product recalls are a cause for concern in households across the country. Infant product recalls are especially concerning due to the expected environment of use, particularly involving the youngest, most innocent consumers. Defective cribs are particularly concerning, since infants are foreseeably left alone for hours in what is supposed to be a safe, secure environment for playing and sleeping.

If you or a loved one has questions about this crib or any other children’s products, please contact a personal injury attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.. You can call us at (617) 742-1900, or if you are outside of the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732. We have significant experience regarding applicable safety regulations and relevant hazards, and can answer any questions you might have.

2 Year Old Boy At Daycare Dies In Fall From Roof

29 May 2014

Daylan Walker, a 2-year-old who had been dropped off at a Columbia Road day care where he had started only two weeks earlier, somehow made his way to the roof of the building. Daylan fell from the roof in an unimaginable tragedy for his family.

Investigations are ongoing, probing the question of how did the young boy wandered out of his day care, climbed four flights of stairs and push through a door onto the roof.

Boston’s Inspectional Services Department issued a violation, finding the door to the roof didn’t fully shut automatically and had to be manually pulled closed. The day care at 129 Columbia Road is licensed to Marisol Rondon-Ramos for up to six children by the Department of Early Education and Care. The building is owned by Urban Edge and managed by Winn­ Residential.

The most important aspect of any child care is the safety and supervision of children. We too often we hear about the neglect many children are subjected to while in a nursery or daycare setting. Claims have arisen when children are neglected by staff members who are inadequately trained or screened. Many day care facilities do not properly educate their staff, resulting in the hiring of careless employees. Many times there is inadequate staff to supervise and protect children, which can lead to tragedy.

Since these innocent victims cannot protect themselves, it is critical to report any instance of suspected child abuse or neglect. There are many state agencies that can assist you in these matters.

Concerns also may arise when a property owner (or a party in control of the property) fails to provide security to make the property safe. In such circumstances, the owner/occupier can be held responsible and legally liable for inadequate security.

At the Boston law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C., our injury attorneys are at the forefront of protecting victim’s rights by bringing personal injury cases to court for inadequate security in premises liability cases. If you have questions about the laws relating to premises security, feel free to contact the law office of Swartz and Swartz, P.C. We are here to answer your questions and protect your legal rights. Call our Boston, Massachusetts, office at (617) 742-1900, or if you live outside the Boston area, call toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

Federal Authorities Investigating Circus Incident Involving Broken Clip

7 May 2014

On Sunday May 4, 2014, eight circus acrobats suffered injuries when they fell to the ground while performing a hair-hanging stunt. Evidence including a broken clip and other material has been turned over to federal workplace safety investigators. A ninth performer, a dancer below the falling Ringling Brothers group, was also hurt.

The carabiner clip was one of several pieces at the top of a chandelier-like apparatus that was suspending the acrobats during the performance in front of 3,900 people at a Rhode Island venue. It is not yet clear why the 4- to 5-inch steel clip broke into three pieces, one fire investigator stated. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will attempt to answer this question, and many others.

Reportedly, the cause of the broken clip has been reduced to two possibilities: a manufacturing defect or improper use (such as the manner in which it was installed in the rigging).

At any point during the design and manufacturing process, a manufacturer’s failure to address safety issues associated with its products may contribute to a product’s hazards. Such efforts are of critical importance for devices that are intended to be safety devices, such as carabiner clips. Our law firm has wide experience in cases involving material failure, including C-clamps, eye screws, piping and numerous other metal components. If you or a family member have suffered significant personal injuries result from the use of a defective product, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or for clients in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states, call toll-free  1-800-545-3732.

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