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The Danger at Home: Recalled Products

By Lependorf & Silverstein on December 26, 2018

Most people don’t realize that millions of products sold in the United States are recalled nearly every month. As the holidays come and go and we’re out purchasing and exchanging gifts, it’s important to be aware of which toys, tools, and other items can cause harm to their recipient.

In the latest defective product news, T.J. Maxx recalled glass drawer knobs that can shatter and lacerate fingers; Skip Hop recalled convertible high chairs due to a slip-and-fall hazard; and The Company Store was forced to pull children’s cotton terry robes for violating the federal flammability standard. These are not the only recalls for December 2018, nor will they be the last. The flammable pajamas are especially concerning, because burn injuries can be life-changing for children.

Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., wants to share the following information for your family in the hope you will have a safe holiday season! Remember to check not only the new items you’re buying, but the ones you already have. Recalls may be announced years after a product is sold, and one particular danger to children comes through unsecured dressers.

Tip-Over Accidents Can Be Lethal

Last year on November 21st, IKEA reissued a recall for its MALM chests and dressers. If not “properly anchored,” these dressers pose a serious risk of tip-over accidents. Tragically, this second recall was preceded by the death of a 2-year-old boy in California. To date, 91 children have been injured and eight killed by this chest of drawers. (The product line was discontinued in 2016, but an estimated 17 million were already sold in the U.S.)

IKEA’s not the only one. Target also had to recall a store-brand dresser that posed a serious tip-over hazard. So did Walmart, and a host of other furniture manufacturers. Here’s the worst part: 91% of tip-over deaths occur at home, the very place kids should be the safest!

Children don’t know better than to climb everything in their path. Parents do have some responsibility—dressers often come with a warning label, and climbing is not “approved use”—but these accidents keep happening. If you have a chest of drawers in your home, anchor it to the wall, and teach your children not to climb.

If the worst happens and your child is injured, can the manufacturer be sued? Possibly. IKEA had to pay out $50 million to families of three young victims. But since most manufacturers do provide warning labels, it would be difficult to prove that the company is liable. Still, if negligence was at play in either making or labeling the product, you would have a legitimate claim against the manufacturer. And not just for dressers. Panasonic’s 55-inch flat screen LED/LCD televisions with tabletop swivel stands were also recalled for loose screws that created the same tip-over hazards.

After Christmas and Hanukkah have passed, we see amazing sales out there. As a result, we’re still buying tons of stuff. As New Jersey product liability attorneys, let’s talk about how to stay informed.

When in Doubt, Check the Recall List

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) oversees all product recalls of this sort. They have everything from too-flammable pajamas to power tools to defective AED devices listed. SafeKids.org also offers a roundup of the recalls that specifically pose a hazard to children. We recommend scrolling through and searching for that thing you want to buy.

Last year, New Jersey Real-Time News listed the 32 most embarrassing product recalls of the year. Among the items was a Mickey Mouse night light that posed a fire hazard, water-absorbing egg/dinosaur toys that could be ingested by children with dangerous side effects, and multiple brands of children’s sweatshirts because of cord entanglement dangers.

The New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs has a Toy Safety Guide that lets you know which toys not to get for your children. They’re almost always due to a choking hazard, so when you’re browsing the aisles, think to yourself, “Could this come apart? Could a small piece be broken off, and become a choking hazard?” If you can imagine it happening, it probably will at some point. Hopefully, no one will be seriously hurt.

After a Product Injures You or Your Child, Call a Lawyer

Gabriel Lependorf and David Silverstein, founders of Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., are fathers as well as personal injury attorneys. If your child was injured, we are here to help. Please call (609) 240-0040 to set up a free consultation. If there’s a way to make the manufacturer or seller pay for injuries their products caused, we’ll find it. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, you’ll owe us no money until we get compensation for you and your family.

We hope you never need our services, and wish you a Happy New Year!

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Posted in: Product Liability

The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty years.

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