Our Chicago personal injury lawyers routinely monitor government recalls of dangerous products, which place the public health and safety at risk. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC, announced earlier this month that it will at last move to ban the manufacture and sale of drop side infant cribs. Drop side cribs, which have been incredibly popular over the past decade, have three fixed sides. The fourth side, however, is attached to rails, and moves up and down to allow parents easier access to the child in the crib.
The drop side feature of cribs, due to its convenience, is frequently used. Unfortunately, as the side is repeatedly raised and lowered, the parts can become stressed and worn down. When the hardware securing the drop side weakens or breaks, the drop side can come partially off its track, creating a small separation between the side and the crib mattress. Infants can then fall into this gap, leading to suffocation or strangulation. Some infants and even toddlers have literally been hung to their death in the deadly gaps. All such instances warrant the consult of a top Chicago wrongful death attorney to investigate whether a viable civil action exists.
At least 32 deaths have been tied to drop side cribs, either through strangulation or suffocation. An additional 14 infants’ deaths may have been caused by drop side cribs, although there is insufficient information to be certain. Other infants and toddlers have escaped wrongful death, but suffered mild to serious injuries, including physical injuries and brain injury.
Even after evidence of the dangers of drop side cribs emerged, the CPSC delayed in recalling the cribs. A series of mistakes at the CPSC led to months or years of delay. Finally, in 2007, the first drop side crib recall was issued, covering about 1 million such cribs. A series of waves of similar recalls followed over the next several years, covering over 7 million drop side cribs nationwide.
Earlier this year, manufacturers at last agreed to a voluntary ban on the sale and manufacture of drop side cribs, but there was still no actual, binding ban in place. The CPSC is now committed to making the ban a matter of federal law. Until such a ban is passed, however, manufacturers are free to disregard the ban and continue to sell their existing stock, or even continue manufacturing such cribs. Oddly, a law passed last year has already made any such ban retroactive for hotels and licensed childcare centers, meaning that although these facilities may currently use drop side cribs, once such a ban is put in place these facilities will have to immediately stop using them.
The evidence strongly suggests that many companies continued to manufacture and sell drop side cribs even after the dangers of these products had been exposed. Therefore, many of the deaths and injuries may be the result of negligence by the companies that made and sold the offending cribs. If your child was injured or killed by a drop side crib, you likely have a cause of action. Our Chicago wrongful death lawyers can help you to analyze all possible claims and defendants, and determine whether legal action is warranted, and against whom. While nothing can ever make up for the injury or death of a small child, if you do decide to bring a lawsuit we can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
For a free consultation with an experienced products liability lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.