What we too often find is that manufacturers and distributors fail to fully anticipate certain design flaws, and further that they don’t take the appropriate action to warn consumers when they become aware of a potentially serious problem.
Now, we find a major problem has been uncovered in the case of high chairs. A new study, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics, revealed that the number of high chair-related injuries soared by 22 percent between 2003 and 2010. Mining information from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, collected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, researchers found this startling increase, adding that 85 percent of all reported injuries were to the head and face. What’s more, the vast majority of these were serious injuries. Only 2.5 percent of the total were deemed minor and not requiring admission to a hospital.
It’s estimated that approximately 9.400 children under the age of 3 are rushed to hospital emergency rooms each year for high chair injuries. That averages out to one high chair injury every single hour of each day. Some of those are simple scrapes, cuts and pinches. However, a large number result in serious wounds, fractures and tissue damage – including brain injuries.
Closed head injuries, the kind that results in concussions, were the most increasingly common type of injury from these instances. There were about 2,560 such injuries reported in 2003, compared to about 4,800 in 2010.
Many of these incidents would be ample grounds for a product liability lawsuit. In some cases, a premise liability lawsuit would be more appropriate, if say the high chair was in use at a restaurant or some other establishment.
As for why the number of high chair injury cases has risen so sharply in recent years, researchers aren’t exactly certain. There are a few different theories, though.
In some instances, the restraining straps weren’t properly used or the child was permitted to slide around or stand up in the chair.
However, there were a fair number of cases that researchers found in which the chair itself was faulty. Two years ago, the federal government passed a law called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. This required more rigid testing measures on a host o f household items – high chairs included. Still, many parents are continuing to use older chairs.
In the last several years, numerous recalls have been initiated because millions of high chairs fell short of current safety standards. Federal safety officials, however, call the return rate on those recalls “dismal.” Only about 10 to 20 percent of all recalled high chairs are ever returned – meaning many are still in use.
Another possible for the recent uptick may be somewhat encouraging: Parents are more aware today than ever before of the potential dangers of concussions and head injuries. That makes them more likely than ever before to get their child medically checked after a fall.
Along with this trend, we’d like to see more parents, caregivers and property owners actively reviewing recall notices, and systematically removing dangerous high chairs from use.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Number of high chair injuries jumps 22% over past decade: study, Dec. 9, 2013, By Tracy Miller, New York Daily News
More Blog Entries:
Protecting Our Youngest Passengers — Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 24, 2013, Manhattan Injury Lawyer Blog