Hundreds of defective children’s toys, clothing, cribs and furniture are recalled each year in the United States. Despite efforts by safety groups and federal regulators, most of these unsafe products remain in consumer’s homes after being recalled. Product recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm examine how this came to be, and what can be done to change it.
A report recently issued by Kids in Danger (KID), a child safety advocacy group, analyzed the effectiveness of children’s product recalls in 2013. Recalls of this kind are overseen by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) along with the companies that manufacture the defective products.
According to CPSC data, the number of recalls increased by 18% and, most importantly, the number of deaths related to these recalls increased by 22%. Overall, there were more than 11 million unites of children’s products recalled last year, clothing and nursery products accounting for over half.
What is most troubling about KID’s findings is that only 10% of all recalled children’s products were ever fixed or returned to the store. The other 90% of recalled products remain in family homes and pose a significant danger to young ones. In essence, once defective products get into homes, it is incredibly difficult to get them out.
Social Media Could be the Answer
Experts assert that this trend could improve dramatically if companies did a better job using social media to reach customers. Families are often online for any number of reasons – to play games, look up kid-friendly recipes, check out parenting tips, and share photos on social media. What if, while scrolling through posts and pictures of your family friends, there were also updates on unsafe, recalled cribs and strollers?
For this to work, product manufacturers and the CPSC need to work together. In 2013, 63 companies active on Facebook and Twitter issued children’s product recalls. Of these 63 manufacturers, only nine of them even mentioned the recall on Facebook. Twitter mentions were worse, at eight.
Social media is an important marketing tool because it reaches so many people so quickly. Failing to use this platform to inform parents on important recalls is a lost opportunity. Even one death or serious injury caused by a recalled product is too many, and it is important to use all outlets possible to prevent such tragedies.
Currently, the average recall response rate is less than 5%. This incredibly low number is largely attributed to lack of consumer awareness, however what is particularly concerning is the lack of action from manufacturers to improve it. Recall effectiveness needs to be a top priority for the CPSC, which will in turn make it a top priority for companies and manufacturers.
Nearly four million car seats were recently recalled by Graco Children’s Products. The recall includes 11 models of Graco car seats manufactured between 2009 and 2013. At issue are defective belt buckles that can easily become stuck, making it difficult if not impossible to release a child. This defect can be incredibly dangerous in the event of an emergency, when a child has to be released immediately from a car or else risk fatal danger.
In fact, at least one child has already died in a Graco car seat after her parents were unable to release her. The infant was buckled into a Graco Nautilus car seat when an accident occurred and the car was engulfed in flames. Several bystanders tried desperately to release the 11-month old, all ultimately failing. The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Graco as a result. More than 6,000 other complaints related to the sticky buckles have also been reported.
In light of this new information, the CPSC is working on several initiatives to improve recall effectiveness and consumer education. Our team of defective product lawyers hope that these new rules and initiatives will significantly reduce the amount of injuries and deaths caused by dangerous children’s products. If your child was hospitalized or killed by a recalled or defectively designed product, contact our firm immediately. We have been working with families of injured victims for nearly three decades, and understand that compassionate legal help can make a huge difference. Our case reviews are free and available to families nationwide.