A manufacturer of bed lining for babies - also known as "crib bumpers" is facing a class action lawsuit by parents who say the products are dangerous and, contrary to their purpose of preventing crib-related injuries, have actually caused infant deaths by suffocation.
Our product liability attorneys realize that crib bumpers have yet to be recalled, and in fact, are still sold at stores. This is despite the fact that many pediatric experts have called for a ban on the products.
The Journal of Pediatrics in 2007 published a study, based on reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission between 1985 and 2005. What they found was that there were 27 accidental deaths involving children between the ages of 1 month and 2 years directly attributed to suffocation when the infants were either strangled by one of the ties or became wedged against the padding and suffocated. In 11 of those cases, the infants suffocated when their face was simply resting against the bumper pad. At the time, the study conclusively determined that the products were dangerous.
Still, they weren't banned.
Last year, federal authorities took CPSC to task over the fact that it had reportedly been aware of the dangers of these products for years, and yet failed to warn parents. In fact, the agency apparently failed to investigate 17 of 52 reports of infant deaths involving the product over the course of two decades.
Now comes this lawsuit.
The complaint contends that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 665 babies have died since 2009 of accidental suffocation or strangulation while in bed. It does not say how many of those involved crib bumpers.
The mother named in the suit does not claim that her own infant suffered injury or death. Still, she claims that she purchased the product, which purports to be safe when installed correctly. She says this claim amounts to false advertising and deceives the public into believing the products are safe when in fact they put babies at risk of crib death.
She is targeting Carter's, which is one of the biggest companies marketing baby clothing and products in the country. It sells crib bumpers for around $70 individually, and nearly $200 when purchased as part of a matching bedroom set.
The complaint indicates that with this company alone, infant bedding sales soar above $50 million each year, and that includes some 200,000 crib bumpers.
The City of Chicago banned crib bumpers last year, and several states are considering similar action. Still, the federal government has yet to act.
The dangers of these products appear to mimic those we heard in previous years regarding the drop-side crib. These products, which were sold for many years, had been blamed in dozens of deaths before they were officially banned last year. The CPSC, in the first change to U.S. crib standards in three decades, additionally required that crib makers construct infant beds that were more durable.
Sadly, those measures won't help those families who are already grieving the loss of a beloved child whose life was needlessly and suddenly cut short due to a dangerous infant bedding product.
In this case, the plaintiff is seeking restitution, damages for consumer law violations, unfair competition and disgorgement of unjust profits. Additionally, the plaintiff is asking the company to issue corrective advertising.
The Ferraro Law Firm handles product liability claims stemming from dangerous and defective products. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Carter's Faces Class Action on Crib Bumpers, Nov. 30, 2012, By Rebekah Kearn, Courthouse News
More Blog Entries:
Recall: Popular "Bumbo" Seat Has Caused Dozens of Child Injuries, Aug. 23, 2012, Product Liability Lawyer Blog