Baby products are BIG business.
From state-of-the art car seats to La-Z-Boy-like baby recliners, parents are constantly barraged with the “next best baby product”, promoted to keep our bundles of joy busy, blissful and most importantly – safe.
As a father of two, I know this as well as anybody and, despite my somewhat skeptical nature, I admit that I have found myself wooed by such product promotion, particularly the ones which appear to be useful.
For example, my wife and I bought a “Bumbo” baby seat when we had our first child.
For the uninformed, a Bumbo is a baby seat to be used on the floor or a chair, which according to the manufacturer, “solve[s] every day parenting challenges, while encouraging parent and child interaction and quality family time.”
Sounds great, right??
Yeah, we thought so too.
To it’s credit, the Bumbo did provide some utility – it allowed our baby to sit up earlier than she could on her own and thus to interact in a new way. But while the seat did play an important role in achieving that developmental milestone, it did nothing to stop her from trying to get out of it, which she often did.
It wasn’t until about a year later that we discovered the Bumbo was subject to a “voluntary” product recall to “add a restraint belt and new warnings” as a result of reports of at least 50 infants falling out of the seat and suffering severe injury (nearly 20 skull fractures). In addition, I later learned that the 2014 recall was just the most recent of three such recalls – the first being in 2007 and the second in 2012.
Why the restraint belt and “new” (read: “proper”) warnings weren’t included in the first place (or second, or third) is extremely concerning, and ultimately begs the greater question:
Are these products being tested for safety before being marketed and sold?
In an attempt to answer my own question, I did what any respectable and concerned parent would do: I Google-d “recalled baby products”.
The first hit my search returned was a website dedicated solely to providing up-to-date recalled baby fare. Choosing the broadest search terms (i.e. “all” and “last year”), the site directed me to nearly 20 product recalls in the past 10 months, some affecting hundreds of thousands of products within each line. The variety of recalled products ranged from cribs, to a “fishing game”, to a “Hello Kitty Birthday lollipop whistle” (which appears to have been included in a McDonald’s Happy Meal last fall).
Even as an attorney specializing in product liability (particularly drugs and medical devices), I was genuinely surprised with these findings, but also interested to scan the listed products to see if I owned any of them (thankfully I don’t, as far as I can tell).
So while the site didn’t exactly answer my question, it did provide some sound evidence that many baby/kids products today can be, or are, dangerous and should have never been sold to the public in the first place.
Being a new parent is scary enough without having to worry whether a product you are using is dangerous for your child. So baby, beware.
If you or a loved one has a child who has been injured by a recalled product, please feel free to call and set up a free consultation with myself or any of the other experienced attorneys with Farris Riley & Pitt.
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