Today's parents live in a golden age of baby accessories, including video-enabled baby monitors, ergonomically designed baby carriers, and even tiny fans made especially for drying a baby's behind. Most of these items are safe, even if some of them are quite useless. Trusting your instincts as a parent is important, but sometimes a flawed design or unintended use can lead to injury or even death.
Product liability laws help minimize these risks, but sadly, consumer safety warnings and recalls typically only come on the heels of multiple injuries or deaths.
Here are five new articles at FindLaw.com discussing the potential dangers of baby and kids' products:
Bumbo Baby Seat Recall Information: These are molded foam rubber seats that are intended to be used on the floor, to help babies sit up before they are able to do so on their own. The first recall was in 2007, after several infants suffered injuries (including skull fractures) when they fell out of the seats; another recall followed five years later to allow the company to install safety straps. The seats are still on the market, but come with safety straps and copious warnings to parents.
Magnetic Toys and the Buckyballs Recall: A popular children's toy called "Buckyballs" (named for the geodesic structures designed by the iconic inventor R. Buckminster Fuller) was recalled in 2010 because of concerns over swallowed magnets. Kids were reportedly using the tiny magnets, which they removed from the toys, as tongue and mouth "piercings." But similar toys and children's products with tiny magnets also were recalled following reports of serious injuries (and at least one child's death) from swallowed magnets.
Nap Nanny Recall Information: The Nap Nanny, an infant "recliner" responsible for the deaths of five infants, was voluntarily recalled by manufacturer Baby Matters in 2013. But it took a lawsuit by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to force the company's hand. The Nap Nanny was designed as a sleep recliner for infants, but its flawed design caused some users to fall off the side or become strangled, while the accompanying Nap Nanny sheets posed a suffocation risk.
Lead in Toys and Lead Poisoning in Children: The fact that lead causes serious damage to the health and brain development of children is not a new discovery. While lead paint was phased out in virtually all product categories years ago, several children's toys were made with alarmingly high levels of lead as recently as 2009. In one example, a children's charm bracelet that contained 99.1 percent lead raised the child wearer's blood-lead level to more than three times the maximum safe level. This article provides some practical tips to help you determine whether your child has been exposed to lead.
Baby Slings and Sling Carriers: As with the aforementioned Bumbo, many of the injuries associated with the use of baby slings -- fabric sleeves used for carrying a child, often worn over one shoulder -- result from incorrect use. But after several deaths and serious injuries, the CPSC advised parents to stop using slings for infants younger than 4 months old. Also, some of the slings were poorly designed or used insufficiently strong materials, resulting in injuries (including skull fractures) from broken parts or other product failures.
Baby product failures can have devastating effects. The best way to ensure the safety of your child when purchasing baby gear is to stay up-to-date on recalls and learn about common child safety hazards.