Dangerous toys are toys that are intended for use by children, but are defective and should not be on the market because they create a risk of harm. These toys are usually recalled, but, sadly. sometimes only after they have caused injuries to children. Various items of furniture intended for use by infants and toddlers have also been found to be too dangerous, because they are defective. Many different types of high chairs, car seats, cribs and other items have all been subject to recall because they pose unreasonable risks of harm.
If a defective high chair or other dangerous product for infants causes injury, the parents may have cause to file a product liability lawsuit. In the U.S., the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the legal authority to issue recalls of unsafe products of all kinds, including those intended for use with children of all ages.
The fact that the product has been recalled by the CPSC may help to establish that the product was defective when it left the manufacturer’s possession and control. This can be advantageous when a person has to file a lawsuit seeking damages in compensation for injury or death caused by the defective product.
High chairs are often a source of threat to infants. For example, the Bistro high chair was recalled because it created a risk of strangulation to babies. The front openings between the high chair’s tray and seat bottom and on the side openings of the high chair between the armrest and seat bottom could allow an infant’s body to slip through and become entrapped at the neck.
This could happen if the belt was not sufficiently tightened, and it created a risk of strangulation. In addition, springs located on both sides of the high chair could create a pinch hazard for the child occupying the chair The Bistro high chair was recalled in 2012.
Chicco Polly high chairs were recalled because they created a risk of laceration. Children could fall on the pegs in the high chair’s rear legs, which would cause a bruising or laceration injury. In 2012, after the manufacturer became aware of 21 reports of incidents in which a child fell against the pegs and were injured, the high chair was recalled.
How Long Have the “Metoo” Chairs Been on the Market?
Another example is the “Metoo” high chairs produced by phil&teds USA. The “Metoo” high chair was a novelty, because it did not have legs. It was designed to be clamped to the edge of a table by means of two clamps, one on each side of the seat, so the chair would hang off the edge of a table. However, the clamps were defectively designed. Between September 2009 and October 2010 the company received reports stating that one or both sides of the chair had detached from a table. In two cases, this caused complete failure of the high chair. As a consequence, two children’s fingertips had to be amputated.
Even after receiving these reports, the company did not report the defect to the CPSC until January 2011. Additionally, even when the company reported the defect, it failed to disclose the specific hazard associated with the defect. And it actually supplied the CPSC with a sample chair that had been redesigned to minimize the risk, rather than the chair as it was sold with its defective design.
The “Metoo” high chairs first entered the marketplace in 2009 and were recalled in 2011, and that is when they were taken off the market. Certain retailers still advertise the chair, but list it as “unavailable.”
What Can Happen While Using the “Metoo” High Chair?
The clamps on the high chair could fail, causing the high chair to detach from the table to which it was attached. This could cause a child to fall to the ground and sustain bruises or worse. Another problem with its design could cause a child’s fingers to become trapped between the bar that held the chair and the clamps that were supposed to hold it to a table. As a result, a child’s fingers would be crushed and sometimes even require amputation.
Did the Company Inform Consumers about the Defect?
From 2009 to 2010, the maker of “Metoo” high chairs received reports to the effect that one or both sides of the high chair could come apart. It made a number of changes to the chair in an attempt to try to fix the problem. However, it did not inform either the CPSC or consumers about the reports of problems.
Can I Sue If My Child Was Injured by the “Metoo” High Chair?
A person who is the parent or guardian of a child who has been injured by any product can sue the manufacturer and distributors of the product for damages to compensate for their losses due to the injury. This includes high chairs. The parents or guardians of a child who has been injured by a high chair or any other defective product can file a lawsuit under the strict products liability theory.
An injured can sue if a product has a:
- Design defect;
- Warning defect;
- Manufacturing defect.
The “Metoo” high chair apparently had a defect in its design. Also, the manufacturer failed to warn consumers of the defect.
In a strict product liability lawsuit, the injured person, or their guardian for the lawsuit in the case of an injured child, would be able to make other claims in addition to strict product liability. They could allege a cause of action for negligence or for breach of express and implied warranties.
A negligence cause of action would require proving some specific act of negligence on the part of the manufacturer, which could be challenging. In a strict product liability case, the injured party or their guardian does not have to prove that negligence caused a product to be defective. Rather, they can recover damages upon proof that the product was defective and caused injury.
However, in a strict product liability case, the injured party cannot recover punitive damages. In a negligence case, the injured party can recover punitive damages. Given the conduct of the manufacturer of the “Metoo” high chair and its failure to alert the CPSC about reports of injuries, the person filing a lawsuit against the company might want to seek punitive damages.
The “Metoo” high chair has been off the market for almost a decade now and it is in all likelihood too late to file a lawsuit for injuries caused by a “Metoo” high chair. This is assuming that a child suffered the injury quite some time ago. That is because there is a statute of limitations for civil lawsuits. The statute of limitations limits the time within which a person can file a claim for damages. In the case of product liability claims, the statute of limitations varies from state to state but usually falls within the range of from 2 to 4 years.
However, some retailers still advertise the high chair, stating that it is “unavailable.” If a person were somehow to purchase the high chair from a retailer who is selling it in violation of the recall of the product, and it caused injury to their child, then they would be able to file a lawsuit.
Should I Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer about “Metoo” High Chair Injury?
If you or your child has been harmed by a “Metoo” high chair or any other piece of furniture designed for use with young children, you should consult a personal injury or defective products lawyer and discuss your legal options.
The lawyer can analyze the facts of your case and help determine if you have a claim for strict product liability or possibly some other cause of action, such as negligence. Cases of this kind can be challenging but an experienced lawyer would know how to proceed and recover compensation for any harm done by a defective product for infants.