Our Chicago personal injury lawyers represent children and their families in a number of injury and wrongful death contexts. One such context arises when children and infants are seriously injured or killed by defective products that are manufactured and distributed specifically for their use.
Whether it is dangerous drop-side cribs, deadly toys, or improperly-constructed playpens, it seems that recent years and months have yielded a bumper crop of injuries, deaths, and subsequent recalls.
One of the latest products to be recalled are a batch of Graco strollers. When a child, particularly and infant under 12 months of age, is placed in the stroller but not harnessed, she can slide or slip down between the stroller tray and the seat of the stroller. Her head can then become trapped by the tray, leading to strangulation.
The specific strollers recalled are the Graco Quattro Tour strollers and travel systems manufactured before November 2006, and the Graco MetroLite strollers and travel systems manufactured before July 2007. Both models were distributed until December 2007, and thus may have been purchased even slightly beyond that date. They were sold at (among other stores) AAFES, Babies R Us, Burlington Coat Factory, Fred Meyer, Kmart, Meijers, Navy Exchange, Sears, Target, and Walmart. For a full list of the model numbers affected, consumers and parents can visit the CPSC’s website or www.gracobaby.com, or call Graco at (877) 828-4046.
This latest problem has led to at least four deaths. In addition, at least five infants have been injured by the defect. Yet, in spite of the fact that these deaths occurred between 2003 and 2005, the recall was not issued until this month. While our Chicago wrongful death attorneys applaud companies who face facts and issue necessary safety recalls, we cannot help but marvel at and decry significant delays such as these.
It is absolutely inexcusable that this recall was not issued until at least five years after the company and the CPSC first learned of the problem. How many injuries and deaths could have been prevented if Graco and the CPSC had acted immediately, and responsibly?
Notably, this recall involves only stroller manufactured before January 2008. At that time, stroller manufacturers adopted a voluntary industry standard setting the minimum distance that must be present between stroller seats and stroller trays. This minimum distance requirement was designed to prevent exactly the type of strangulation deaths that occurred here. Thus, not only were Graco and the CPSC aware of the infant deaths that had already occurred from these dangerous strollers, but they had participated in the creation and adoption of a new standard, which these previously-manufactured strollers did not meet. Yet it took an additional two years for a recall to issue.
This pattern of delay by manufacturers, and tolerance by the CPSC, has now become intolerable. It is time for the CPSC to get tough, and fulfill its mandate to ensure the safety of American consumers and the American public – particularly our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. The injury and wrongful death lawyers of Passen & Powell add our voices to the chorus of others demanding that the CPSC begin taking seriously the prompt recall of dangerous infant products. The consequences of the failure to do so are literally life-and-death.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago child injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.