But now a new study published in the journal Pediatrics reveals a child under the age of three is injured every eight minutes in the U.S. due to accidents stemming from products. Researchers gleaned information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 1991 through 2011. Over this 21-year period, there was initially a substantial drop in injuries of about 34 percent from 1991 to 2003, attributed largely to the sharp drop in baby walker/ jumper/ exerciser injuries. A number of these products were taken off the shelves and parents began to learn more about the dangers. However, this period of declining child product injuries was followed by a dramatic upswing from 2003 to 2011 of 24 percent. Most of these new cases were classified as closed head injuries and concussions.
In trying to determine the most dangerous products that require closer attention, researchers found the products that caused the most problems for young children to be:
- Baby carriers – 20 percent
- Cribs and mattresses – 19 percent
- Strollers and carriages – 17 percent
- Baby walkers/ jumpers/ exercisers – 16 percent
In 8 out of 10 cases, the injury was precipitated by a fall. In almost half of all instances, the body area most prone to injury was the head and neck.
In total, there were nearly 1.5 million injuries related to infant and child products over the course of the study time frame. This worked out to an average of 66,000 child injuries resulting from products every year – and those were only the cases wherein the child ended up in the emergency room.
Although researchers noted that some of these instances had to do with parents’ failure to properly strap or buckle their children or placing infants in seats on a high surface, such as a table or counter, that does not necessarily mean those within the chain of distribution could not be held liable. A parent’s failure to properly use an infant or child product could be grounds to assert comparative fault, but this alone wouldn’t prohibit a claimant from filing a lawsuit, at least not in Florida.
Further, product manufacturers have a duty of care to ensure their products are reasonably safe. That means they must take into account what are called “foreseeable misuses.” That means the parent’s misuse of the product occurred in a way that was foreseeable to the manufacturer, who therefore had a responsibility to either fix that issue or warn about it.
We would expect the downward trend to continue, given that regulations and standards for infant and child products have tightened and parents are becoming increasingly better educated about the products they buy. However, dangerous and defective products continue to make their way onto store shelves or delivered to our front doors.
Study authors concluded greater efforts are needed to help prevent injuries associated with other nursery products, especially strollers, cribs and baby carriers. In particular, preventing falls and head injuries is important.
If your child has suffered injury due to a defective or dangerous product in Florida, we can help you explore your legal options.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Baby Gear Injuries Surging, Often Due to Falls, March 13, 2017, By Lisa Rapaport, Reuters Health
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