As a Missouri defective product lawyer, I was very interested when the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of Maclaren strollers Nov. 9. Maclaren, a British manufacturer of high-end baby products, agreed to recall ten years’ worth of umbrella strollers after the CPSC received reports of at least 12 children who had lost fingertips because their fingers were caught in the hinges of the folding stroller. (Families that own the strollers can find more information about the recall and keeping their children safe at Maclaren’s Web site or by calling 1-877-688-2326.) A few days later, on Nov. 12, the New York Post reported that the manufacturer had known about the flaw since at least 2004 but didn’t warn consumers or regulatory agencies.
The recall covers every Maclaren stroller sold in the United States since 1999, which comes out to about a million strollers from several lines. According to the Post, about half of those strollers were sold after Maclaren learned about the problem through a lawsuit filed by a Connecticut woman whose toddler lost his right pinky. Jane DeWinter was at a store, testing the one-handed folding and unfolding mechanism offered by Maclaren, when her 23-month-old son Carlos stuck his hand in the hinge. Despite two surgeries, doctors couldn’t reattach the finger. A safety engineer testified at the DeWinters’ trial that the scissor-like hinge design violates federal safety guidelines for children’s products. He also said Maclaren had a legal obligation to report the incident to the federal government. According to the Post, the manufacturer did not report the flaw, setting it up for a potential $1 million in fines.
The newspaper said that Maclaren argued that the DeWinters’ accident was the mother’s own fault for failing to watch her son’s hands. As a St. Louis product defects attorney, I can confirm that consumers do have a legal obligation to take reasonable care to avoid foreseeable dangers in products. However, this doesn’t excuse manufacturers from knowingly designing children’s products that are not safe to use around children. It’s not news that children young enough to be in strollers are not very sophisticated about the dangers of hinges, electricity, small objects and other things adults use regularly. That’s why federal law requires no choking hazards in toys for children under a certain age, and why we don’t hold children responsible for failing to avoid dangers that are obvious to adults. It’s not hard to foresee that a scissor-like hinge within grabbing distance might pose a threat to small children, especially if it’s designed to be opened and closed one-handed — inviting use by distracted, busy adults.
At the Lowe Law Firm, we represent children and families that have suffered serious injuries from a consumer product that had serious safety flaws. That includes products that had safety problems built into their designs; products that acquired flaws or contamination during manufacture; and products that don’t carry the safety warnings consumers need to make good decisions. Our southern Illinois defective product lawyers have substantial experience representing clients with this type of injury, including injuries from defective miniblinds and other household products, tainted prescription and over-the-counter drugs and flawed medical devices. We have helped many people from Missouri, Illinois and around the U.S. recover compensation for serious injuries sustained from flawed products, including wrongful deaths, permanent disabilities, severe burns and other injuries that have catastrophic and permanent effects.
If you were injured by a defective stroller or any other consumer product with serious safety problems, don’t hesitate to call the Lowe Law Firm to learn more. To set up a free evaluation of your case, please contact us through our Web site or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 today.