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Products liability: nursery product put children at risk

Manufacturers have considerable responsibilities for their products when they put them on the market, including in Pennsylvania. To be competitive, they must ensure their products can do what they are advertised to do while also being safe for consumer use. Manufacturers are also obliged to provide proper warnings about any risks associated with their products. Manufacturers should also ensure that their products are free from any known or hidden defects that can injure users. Manufacturers of baby and children's products have even more responsible for safety.

Because of the number of children injured or killed as a result of defective products, safety and health officials are particularly keen to examine products designed for use. According to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) 2013 report, recent statistics showing the number of injuries and fatalities associated with nursery products is cause for alarm. According to the CPSC, nearly 78,000 injured infants and children were treated in emergency departments in 2012.

The injuries were caused by defective nursery products for children 5 and younger. The injuries were classified per product category, ranging from cribs and mattresses to high chairs, bassinets and cradles. Of these products, cribs and mattresses had the highest number of injuries treated in emergency rooms, accounting for 14,100 in 2012. High chairs were next with 13,200, infant carriers followed with 13, 000 and strollers or carriages were close behind with 12,300.

Aside from injuries, the CPSC found that nursery products were associated with 111 deaths from 2008 to 2010. Cribs, bassinets, playpens, infant carriers and baby baths were involved in 89 percent of reported deaths. The causes of death included strangulation and drowning.

Defective products that cause injuries or deaths can lead to product liability lawsuits that hold manufacturers liable and provide compensation to injury victims and their families.

Source: CPSC.gov, "Injuries and Deaths Associated with Nursery Products Among Children Younger than Age Five," accessed on Dec. 15, 2014

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