What to do if you’re hurt by a dangerous product

By William J. Price

A machine at work. A curling iron at home. A defective seat belt in your car.

dangerous productEach of these items – and many others you use on a daily basis – has the potential to hurt you or your loved ones. If you’ve been seriously injured by a dangerous product, you may be able to hold the manufacturer or supplier accountable. Continue reading “What to do if you’re hurt by a dangerous product”

Graco Recalls 3.7 Million Car Seats

In the fourth largest child car seat recall in history, the National Highway traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that Graco is voluntarily recalling 11 child car seats, affecting 3,773,379 units. However, according to the agency, an additional 1.8 million seats should also be recalled.

The NHTSA reports the buckles on these seats may become stuck and not unlatch, a problem Graco attributes to kids eating in the car. Graco spokesperson Ashley Mowrey explained that “food and dried liquids make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position.”

According to the company’s website, the recall includes model year 2009 through July 2013 for following models:

Toddler Convertible Car Seats

  • Cozy Cline
  • Comfort Sport
  • Classic Ride 50
  • My Ride 65
  • My Ride 70
  • My Ride 65 with Safety Surround
  • Size4Me 70
  • My Size 70
  • Head Wise 70
  • Smart Seat 

Harnessed Booster Child Seats

  • Nautilus 3-in-1
  • Nautilus Elite
  • Argos 

The NHTSA has urged the company to recall its infant seats, but Graco has refused. The Snugride, Snugride 30, Snugride 32, Infant Safe Seat-Step 1, Snugride 35, Tuetonia 35, and Snugride Click Connect 40 all use the same buckle as the recalled models. However Graco officials feel there is no danger since infants in rear-facing seats do not spill food and drinks.

Replacement Buckles

Graco is offering a replacement harness buckle to affected consumers at no cost. Call 1-800-345-4109 or email the company at [email protected] for a new buckle. 

Play it safe

Graco feels that parents should continue using the seats until they get a replacement buckle. However, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration “encourages parents and caregivers to consider acquiring an alternative car seat for transporting children until their Graco seat is fixed.”

If you must use the car seat, consider traveling with a seat belt cutting device. Any seat belt can become stuck, and in an accident, every second counts. Most belt cutters have a safety blade, allowing you to slice safely through the belt. Some models also include a window breaker, providing an emergency exit if your door becomes stuck and your window won’t work.

Seat belts and child safety seats save countless lives every year, but they can also be prone to manufacturing and design defects or malfunction at times. Taking a few simple steps to ensure safety may save a life and help protect the ones that you love.

 

Source:3.7 million Graco car seats recalled due to buckle issue” by Greg Botelho and Mike Ahlers, CNN, February 12, 2014.

 

Dangerous Toys

dec_article2This holiday season, we all need to be aware of the toys we buy and make sure they are safe for children. Be sure to read labels and only buy age-appropriate toys. Remember that siblings share toys, and a gift intended for an older child with small parts could pose a safety hazard in the hands of a younger sibling. You can avoid recalled products by checking the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website, www.cpsc.gov.

While some risks are obvious, other hidden dangers may be lurking in your child’s toys. (Scroll down for the full “Trouble in Toyland” list of dangerous toys.)

Lead and other Toxic Chemicals

Exposure to lead can affect almost every organ and system in the human body, especially the central nervous system. Lead can cause permanent mental and developmental impairments in young children. While the government has placed limits on lead in toys, not every toy is individually tested.

Choking Hazards

Choking – on small toy parts, on small balls, on marbles, batteries and on balloons – continues to be the major cause of toy-related deaths and injuries. Between 2001 and 2012, more than 90 children died from choking incidents.

Wheeled Riding Toys

Scooters and other riding toys, such as skateboards, and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit. Parents should be aware that even small children may be harmed at slow speeds. According to the CPSC, in 2012 four children were found dead in swimming pools with their tricycles, and one child received a fatal head injury after his tricycle toppled over

Magnets

Magnet toys such as the Buckyball magnets that are the subject of a CPSC court action, are still available and continue to cause accidents. The CPSC staff has estimated that between 2009 and 2011 there were 1,700 emergency room cases nationwide involving the ingestion of high powered magnets. More than 70% of these cases involved children between the ages of 4 and 12.

Noisy Toys

Research has shown that 33 percent of Americans with hearing loss can attribute it in part to noise. The third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that one in five U.S. children will have some degree of hearing loss by the time they reach age 12. This may be in part due to many children using toys and other children’s products such as music players that emit loud sounds.The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders advises that prolonged exposure to noise above 85 decibels will cause gradual hearing loss in any age range.

Trouble in Toyland

The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) survey of toy safety. In the report, U.S. PIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards. The private consumer safety group visited numerous national toy stores, malls and dollar stores this fall to identify potentially dangerous toys. Their investigation focused on toys that pose a potential toxic, choking, strangulation or noise hazard.

PIRG’s List of Dangerous Toys*

Toys containing small parts

  • Princess Wand, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar Store for $1

Toys containing small parts with label violations

  • Bead Kit, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar Store for $1
  • Littlest Pet Shop – #2744 Horse, made by Hasbro, sold at Kmart for $3.99
  • Littlest Pet Shop – Candyswirl Dreams Collection #3313, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $4.49
  • Littlest Pet Shop – Sunil Nevla, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $3.99
  • Littlest Pet Shop – Candyswirl Dreams Collection #3317, made by Hasbro, sold at Wal-Mart for $4.49
  • Littlest Pet Shop – Seal and Dolphins, made by Hasbro, sold at Kmart for $4.49

Small ball-Like toys, toy parts, and rounded food toys posing choking hazards

  • Gobble Gobble Guppies, made by Swimways, sold at Kmart for $14.99
  • Super Play Food Set, made by Geoffrey, sold at Toys-R-Us for $19.99

Near-small parts that may pose choking hazards

  • Fisher-Price Loving Family Outdoor Barbecue, made by Mattel, sold at Kmart for $22.99

Balloons marketed to children under eight years old

  • Punch Balloons made by Toy Investments, sold at Toys-R-Us for $.98

Toys and children’s products containing lead and other toxic chemicals

  • Captain America Soft Shield, made by Disguise, sold at Toys-R-Us for $8.99
  • Set of 10 Rings/Bagues, made by Greenbrier International, sold at Dollar Tree for $1
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pencil Case, made by Innovative Design, sold at Toys-R-Us for $4.99
  • Lamaze Take and Tidy Activity Mat, made by TOMY, sold at Babies-R-Us for $39.99
  • Monster High Skelita Halloween Costume, made by Rubie’s Costume Co, sold at Toys-R-Us for $29.99

Examples of Potentially hazardous magnet toys

  • Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets, made by JA-RU, sold at Dollar General for $1

Examples of Potential Noise Hazards

  • Chat & Count Smart Phone, made by Leap Frog Enterprises, sold at Babies-R-Us for $17.99
  • Lil’ Pal Phone, made by Leap Frog Enterprises, sold at Babies-R-Us for $9.99
  • Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Remote, made by Mattel, sold Babies-R-Us for $12.99

*Remember, not all toys are tested and there is no comprehensive list of potentially hazardous toys. Examine toys carefully for potential dangers before you make a purchase.

Sources:

Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2012” by Yongling Tu, Division of Hazard Analysis, Directorate for Epidemiology, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, November 2013.

‘Trouble in Toyland’ report finds dangerous toys still for sale” by Michelle Castillo, CBS News, November 26, 2013.

Court revives J&J Whistleblower lawsuit

Former Johnson & Johnson executive claims he was fired for whistleblowing about product safety – he warned management 15 years ago that Ortho-Evra was dangerous.

A three-judge appellate panel in New Jersey has overturned the dismissal of a whistleblower retaliation lawsuit filed against J&J and its subsidiary Ethicon by Joel S. Lippman. The former Ethicon vice president of clinical trials claims he was terminated in 2006 for raising concerns about the safety and efficacy of several products, including the Ortho-Evra birth control patch.

His former employers tell a very different story. They claim that Lippman was fired for having a romantic relationship with a coworker. However, in its opinion, the court concluded that there were “sufficient material issues of fact in dispute” that should be resolved by a jury.

That means it will be left to a jury to decide whether J&J actually fired Lippman for his office romance or if the allegations were simply a pretext to fire him for being uncooperative. You can read the complete 51-page decision here.

Dangerous drugs: profits over safety

In his suit, Lippmann alleges that J&J and its subsidiary were callously indifferent to safety concerns he raised regarding various products and in some cases, the pharmaceutical giant delayed or even declined to recall dangerous products that presented “an unreasonable risk of substantial harm.”

In 1999, Lippman objected to the launching and marketing of the Ortho-Evra birth control patch because of data that showed an increasing amount patients were experiencing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clots, due to the estrogen dosage in the patch. After his allegations, Lippman was transferred to another subsidiary and given a substantial raise. Despite his concerns, J&J launched Ortho-Evra in 2002 using attractive models in a high profile ad campaign.

The lawsuit also describes how J&J repeatedly ignored Lippman’s advice on other new drugs and medical devices and circumvented the medical board’s recommendations due to financial concerns over expiring patents.

Thousands of women have filed Ortho-Evra Claims

In the 15 years since Lippman first warned management about Ortho-Evra, complaints have be filed on behalf of over 4,000 women who say they were harmed by patch. Women using Ortho-Evra claimed it caused DVT, blood clots in the lungs, strokes, and heart attacks. The patch has also been blamed for more than 20 deaths.

The drug injury attorneys at Elk & Elk have helped several clients in Ohio with Ortho-Evra-related claims, including complications from blood clots, and unfortunately, death. In 2008, court records revealed that J&J had spent over $68 million to settle the birth-control claims.

Other birth control methods, such as the Mirena Intrauterine Device and NuvaRing have also been linked to increased health risks.

If you have been harmed by a dangerous drug or medical device, fill just fill out our online contact form or call 1-800 –ELK-OHIO to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

“J&J Watchdog Employee Can Proceed With Retaliation Lawsuit” by Ed Silverman, PharmaLive.com, September 9, 2013.

“J&J Paid $68 Million to Settle Birth-Control Cases” by David Voreacos, Bloomberg News, October 10, 2008.

IMPORTANT RECALL: Pottery Barn Kids crib bumper poses infant hazard

Pottery Barn Recall

The Pottery Barn Kids “Sweet Lambie” crib bumper is being recalled because of a potential hazard to infants.  Consumers should immediately check the tag on the bumper for the month and year. The manufacturer reports, “The decorative stitching on the bumper can come loose, posing an entanglement hazard to young children. If your bumper contains a date code between 04/2009 and 07/2012, please stop using it immediately.” Model numbers included in the recall are: 708859, 708917, and 7988348.

The bumpers were sold at Pottery Barn Kids stores nationwide, by catalog, and online from April 2009 through July 2012. If you have a recalled bumper, contact Pottery Barn Kids toll-free at (855) 323-5138 for instructions. The company is offering a free replacement bumper or a gift card in the amount of a full refund.

Keeping your baby safe

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that between 1992 and 2010 there were nearly 700 deaths involving infants 12 months and younger related to pillows and cushions placed in or near a baby’s sleep environment. Nearly half of the infant crib deaths and two-thirds of bassinet deaths reported to CPSC each year are suffocations caused by pillows, thick quilts and/or overcrowding in the baby’s sleeping space.

American Academy of Pediatrics offers the following tips to keep your sleeping baby safe. This information should also be shared with anyone who cares for babies, including grandparents, family, friends, babysitters, and child care centers.

  • Place your baby to sleep on his back for every sleep. Babies up to 1 year of age should always be placed on their backs to sleep during naps and at night. However, if your baby has rolled from his back to his side or stomach on his own, he can be left in that position if he is already able to roll from tummy to back and back to tummy. If your baby falls asleep in a car safety seat, stroller, swing, infant carrier, or infant sling he should be moved to a firm sleep surface as soon as possible.
  • Place your baby to sleep on a firm sleep surface. The crib, bassinet, portable crib, or play yard should meet current safety standards. Check to make sure the product has not been recalled. Do not use a crib that is broken or missing parts, or has drop-side rails. Cover the mattress that comes with the product with a fitted sheet. Do not put blankets or pillows between the mattress and the fitted sheet. Never put your baby to sleep on a chair, sofa, water bed, cushion, or sheepskin. For more information about crib safety standards, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
  • Keep soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation out of the crib. Pillows, quilts, comforters, sheepskins, bumper pads, and stuffed toys can cause your baby to suffocate. Note: Research has not shown us when it’s 100% safe to have these objects in the crib; however, most experts agree that after 12 months of age these objects pose little risk to healthy babies.

Click HERE for more information from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how you can create a safe sleep environment for your baby.

At Elk & Elk, we employ some of the top product defect litigation lawyers in the country. If you or someone you know or love has been injured by the negligent acts of a defective product’s manufacturer, give Elk & Elk the opportunity to show you what a difference a team with the experience, resources and determination of our firm can make. Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children

A safety watchdog has filed suit against the manufacturers of magnetic balls, claiming they are dangerous to children. The Ohio product recall lawyers of Elk & Elk believe companies should not benefit from dangerous products.

In an effort to protect children, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has sued two companies that manufacture high-powered magnetic balls.

The CPSC filed administrative complaints against Zen Magnets of Denver, CO, and Maxfield & Oberton Holdings of New York City alleging that the company’s products contain defects in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions which pose a substantial risk of injury.

Maxfield & Oberton is the manufacturer of the popular Buckyballs, the high-powered magnetic desktop toys for adults that many young children have swallowed. The tiny magnets can then cluster together and get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing blockage or infection or punching holes through the stomach or intestinal walls. Continue reading “Ohio Product Defect Lawyers: Magnetic balls dangerous to young children”