A nonprofit child safety agency, called Kids in Danger (KID) has released its annual report on children’s product injuries and recalls. Called the “KID Report Card”, it details how all too often product recalls are released too slowly, and as a result, children are exposed to dangerous products or injured by them.
The report card used information from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which regulates product safety and standards. It found that in the last year alone, 76 children’s products were pulled from the market, totaling almost 70 million units. Sadly, seven children’s deaths were reported, and there were nearly 400 injuries. The most recalled group of products were nursery ones, like strollers, mobiles and high chairs.
The most commonly reported injuries were suffocation, choking, entrapment and entanglement. Other common injuries were lacerations, falls, poisoning, and slightly less commonly reported were drowning, burns and electric shock. Many children’s serious injuries caused by defective products could have been prevented if the products had been recalled more quickly.
It is shocking to find out how many people get hurt before a company decides to comply with federal regulations and pull a product from the shelves. On average, a company had to receive 64 reports of serious design flaws in order to recall a product. Just two years earlier, however, manufacturers only received an average of 12 reports of defects before they would recall a product.
This shows how companies often keep dangerous products on the shelves, continuing to sell them and make profits, even if it means that consumers remain exposed to injury or death. It appears as though children are at a particularly high risk for this, with data showing that at least one-quarter of all recalled children’s products involved consumer injuries before products were pulled. Although it is unclear as to why children’s products in particular are becoming less regulated, this is a serious problem, which is inflicting too many injuries and needs to be changed.
A few years ago it seemed as though there was the growth of a positive trend in product safety, especially in respect to children’s products. The number of reported injuries that occurred prior to recalls were far fewer; in 2015 there were 12 and in 2014 only 5. But this large jump in pre-recall product injuries signifies a serious problem: there are a lack of adequate regulations to control safety standards and recalls, and kids are getting injured and even dying as a result.
The CPSC passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act in 2008 to more comprehensively regulate product safety. The act also defines “children’s products” and has standards for labeling and usage. Although the act allows for more severe penalties for failing to comply, it seems as though the CPSC needs to consider implementing even more stringent regulations and requiring that manufacturers are quickly pulling dangerous products off the shelves.
Recall visibility is a big part of the problem. The founders of KID created the nonprofit because their son died as a consequence of a defective product. Although a recall had been issued, the family had not yet been notified and had no way to know that their child was at risk. Today, you can search for recall or repair notices on any product by visiting this website. You can also report an unsafe product or an injury caused by one through the website.
If your child has been injured by a defective product, our products liability lawyers in Philadelphia are happy to answer your questions and review your case for free. Our offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster, and Galfand Berger serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.