Articles Posted in Defective Products & Consumer Protection

Millions of parents put their trust in car seats every day to protect their children. Our nation has numerous laws concerning the necessity and proper usage of car seats. But, in a recent move by Graco, one of the country’s leading child safety seat manufacturers, more than 3.5 million child car seats have been recalled due to a buckling issue that could leave child riders trapped.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Graco has voluntarily recalled 11 out of the 18 seat models that the agency asked them to recall. The seven other seat models are still under review, as Graco contests the recall request of the nearly 1.8 million additional car seats.

Graco Car Seats Recalled

The seats in question were toddler convertible car seats and harnessed booster seats manufactured between 2009 and July 2013. The problematic harnesses have been corrected on all newer models of seats since July of last year.

The issue with these buckles involves the red release button in the middle of the straps. Reports state that the button can become stuck, not allowing children to be removed from the seat quickly in an emergency situation.

Representatives from Graco stated that their findings have shown that food and dried liquids that get on the buckle—a problem common with young children—can cause the button to stick.

To date, Graco has reported that no injuries have resulted from the buckle problem yet, and that owners can receive a free replacement harness by calling 1-800-345-4109. Graco urges customers that continued use of the car seat is still recommended until a replacement harness and buckle is received. The company insists that the harness problem does not affect the car seat’s ability to protect a child. However, the NHTSA recommends that owners find an alternative child safety seat to use until any replacement harness has been received.

At Lewis & Tompkins, we’d like to urge you to check your child’s safety seat to be sure it is not one of the models under the recall. In the event of a car accident, it is important that you and/or emergency personnel be able to safely and quickly remove your child from the seat. Sadly, too many children are injured because of defective car seats each year. Something designed to protect your child should not be the thing that brings him great harm.

If you have any questions concerning faulty child car seats, please contact our law offices today.

Read More About Graco Safety Seat Recall One of Largest in History…

Possible legislation introduced by Maryland Del. Kathleen Dumais (D-Montgomery County), could ban minors from purchasing the controversial energy drinks like Red Bull, Monster, or NOS from retailers.

The possible ban stems from the 2011 death of Anais Fournier, 14, of Hagerstown. The toxicology report following the young teen’s death showed that she died from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by toxic levels of caffeine. Reportedly, Fournier had consumed two 24-ounce cans of Monster Energy within the 24 hours prior to her death.

The Negative Effects of Energy Drinks

This case is not a solo incident of concern among critics of the popular energy drinks. Studies have shown that these “energy drinks” cause more forceful heart contractions, severe headaches, insomnia, extreme vomiting, and adverse reactions to other medications. The combination high dosages of sugar and caffeine can have detrimental side effects for those who consume too much of the drinks. Some studies suggest that as many as 20,000 people were taken to emergency rooms around the country between 2007 and 2011 because of energy drink consumption.

According to the Mayo Clinic, one 24-ounce can of Monster Energy contains 480 milligrams of caffeine – the same as five, eight-ounce cups of coffee, or about 14 cans of cola. In recent years, the FDA has released adverse-event reports to several of these energy drinks, including Monster Energy, 5-Hour Energy and Rockstar Energy, linking the products to numerous injuries and deaths.

The idea for the proposed ban draws on the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children or adolescents not consume the drinks at all. Even though labels on drinks like Red Bull or Monster clearly state “not recommended for children,” there is currently no law restricting the purchase of these energy drinks by minors.

Questions surrounding the controversial energy drinks have divided the public on the issue. Many retailers, teens, and parents feel that it should be a child’s choice to consume the drinks or not, and the dangers are not “as bad as cigarettes or alcohol.”

The Maryland House Economic Matters Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill on March 7 in Annapolis.

At Lewis and Tompkins, we believe that manufacturers that negligently create dangerous goods that injure consumers should be held liable for those resulting damages. For further information about product liability lawsuits, consumer safety, or the dangers of energy drinks, please feel free to contact us today.

Read More About Consumer Protection: Maryland Looks to Ban Energy Drinks…

After two people have reported food poisoning after eating beef products, a California company is recalling almost 23,000 pounds of beef products to prevent a salmonella outbreak. According to the beef company’s spokesperson Mark Klein, the salmonella beef recall is voluntary and the company is simply taking precautions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says that Beef Packers Inc., produced the possibly tainted beef products on September 23 and that the food packaging contains the case code EST. 31913. Retailers and grocery stores have been asked to pull the food from their shelves while consumers are asked to inquire with their retailers about the recalled beef. The USDA has released a list of over 100 Safeway grocery stores that sold the tainted meat. The meat was packaged as ground beef.

Some government officials, such as Rep. Rosa DeLauro, is calling for major action against Beef Packers due to the recent salmonella recall and the company’s poor history with the National School Lunch Program, which has resulted in three suspensions due to health and safety concerns. Some say that investigators should try to examine and fix the problems at the meat factory, while others want to see the plant closed.

Following soon after two very serious and large baby recalls for drop-side cribs and umbrella strollers, another infant product is being recalled after two different baby deaths were reported. Minneapolis-based Amby baby company has announced the recall of 24,000 Amby baby hammocks – motion beds that were sold between January of 2003 and October of 2009 for $250. The hammock was sold through online retailers and on the Amby website. The recall has been announced jointly by Amby and by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

This summer, the Amby baby hammocks have been found responsible for the deaths of 4-month old girl in Lawrenceville, Georgia, in June and a 5-month-old boy in Gresham, Oregon, In August. There were also three other non-deadly baby hammock incidents reported. The CPSC says that the design of the baby hammocks can cause the infant to roll off of the mattress – and either onto the floor or in between the mattress and the edge of the bed, causing suffocation. The Canadian recall suggests that crib owners disassemble and dispose of the hammocks so that they are no longer useable.

The non-profit Kids In Danger suggests that parents stay away from any Hammock-like baby products which may poise similar risks.

Please take the time to check your child’s crib to make sure it is not subject to this recall. I have seen video (to be posted later) that shows how the <plastic> latch can break on the crib. Once broken, the crib rail and be easily pushed open just enough to allow the baby’s head to poke through. The baby will then strangle.

A large stroller recall has been announced after a dozen different children have had fingers amputated by the stroller’s hinges. All in all, over one million Maclaren strollers have been voluntarily recalled by the company with the help of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The strollers, which pose an amputation risk when they are opened or closed, have been sold for the last decade at a number of national chains, including Babies R Us and Target. The strollers ranged in price from $100 to $400 and include the Volo, Triumph, Quest Sport, Quest Mod, Techno XT, TechnoXLR, Twin Triumph, Twin Techno, and Easy Traveller models. These models include single and double versions of the umbrella strollers.

Farzad Rastegar, the chief executive of Maclaren, told reporters that the dangerous hinges were common on umbrella strollers – and that his company has stepped in to handle a problem that other stroller manufacturers have up to this point ignored.

Mitch Lipka bought a three-pack of Halloween flashlights from a Target department store for $1 – but when he brought them home and put batteries in the children’s product, one of the flashlights sizzled as the battery melted through the plastic. When he tested a second pack of flashlights, the same fire hazard occurred in one of the defective toys.

Now Target has recalled the dangerous Halloween flashlights with the help of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Target has asked that those who bought the defective toys bring them back to the store for a full refund and that anyone using the lights should immediately remove the batteries. Target has also pulled the dangerous fire hazards from their shelves – even before the CPSC has finished investigating the dangerous product. The CPSC encourages all parents to report defective and dangerous toys.

Do you have a deadly product in your house – that looks like a harmless window treatment? You might. This week, six different window treatment manufacturers recalled a total of 5.5 million potentially defective window shades and window blinds after three children accidentally hung themselves in the chord’s loop. These strangulation deaths are caused when the shades’ chords reaches low enough to the ground that a small child or toddler can entangle himself in the strings.

Most recently, a four-year-old girl was strangled in her home by the chord of a vertical bind that was not attached to the floor. In 2007, a one-year-old baby was killed when a blind chord fell into his crib.

Although the blinds feature a warning sticker to alert parents to the danger of the chords, the window treatment companies decided to go ahead with the recall. The recall, issued by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), is voluntary. While some blinds can be made safe with a simple repair kit, others will need to be returned in exchange for a refund. The blinds come in both vertical and horizontal varieties.

A defective and dangerous product may harm you or a loved one as you work in the yard, CNNMoney reported on August 4. Power tool company Black & Decker issued a recall last week for The GH1000 Grasshog XP String Trimmer/Edgers. The estimated 200,000 grass trimmers are said to cause serious lacerations and burns in users. Shockingly, this is the second time in two years that the Grasshog has been recalled.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission explained that the edge trimmer’s spool cap and portions of the trimmer string can break, with sections of the trimmer string flying into the air and potentially hitting users or those nearby. In addition, the CPSC said that the machine can become overheated, causing serious burns.

The defective edge trimmer has resulted in 100 different incident reports as well as 10 injures that needed medical attention that involved burns, lacerations, and bruises. The Grasshog was sold nationally at a number of home stores and hardware stores for approximately $70. Those with the black spool cap are being recalled – Grasshogs with orange spool caps are thought to be safe.