During the Super Bowl last night, a controversial commercial for Nationwide Insurance captured the attention of viewers throughout the country. Some were outraged by the ad, which is narrated by a little boy explaining all the things he will miss in live because he died in an accident. Although the ad angered many people, it highlights a supremely important issue that is too often overlooked: preventable accidents and deaths.
Our accident and injury attorneys have written about this topic on this blog many times before, usually in response to a massive child product recall. In these blogs we often cite the nonprofit group Kids in Danger, which is one of the leaders in product safety. The group places much of its focus on recalled and needlessly dangerous children’s products, which are highly unregulated.
In one of their studies, Kids in Danger found that only 10% of recalled children’s products are ever returned or replaced. The remaining 90 out of 100 products remain in family homes like a ticking time bomb. Why so many recalled products remain in homes involves a complex web of factors, including a lack of transparency, regulation and oversight failure, and public negligence.
The truth that the commercial is trying to convey is that preventable accidents are the number one cause of childhood deaths. The ad showed fallen televisions, spilled household cleaning products, and overflowing bathtubs to demonstrate the most common accidents leading to death and injury among children, and prompts viewers to visit makesafehappen.com for tips and resources. The website is intended to help educate caregivers and parents on how to make the home safer.
People on social media were, not surprisingly, extremely critical about the ad. Although the ad was dark, it certainly serves a higher purpose: to get people talking about a tough issue. One of the most important hurdles to curbing these preventable accidents is to reform how our product recalls system works.
Furniture is one of the most common causes of child injuries and deaths. Typically, it takes about 14 reported incidents and two injuries to incite a product recall – but these need to be reported to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to be effective.
After reports are submitted, the government informs the product manufacturer
that they should initiate a recall, but there is no guarantee the company
will comply quickly, if at all. The CPSC cannot mandate a recall itself;
if a company is refusing to recall the CPSC must take the issue to court,
which can then require a recall.
Once a recall is announced, press releases are released, newspaper ads are taken out, and letters are sent out. There is currently no way for the notice to reach every person in possession of that product, however. Companies typically want to keep the recall as discreet as possible to protect their reputation as much as possible, and although the CPSC does sent out electronic notifications, it is not used by larger public.
This leaves dangerous, defective products in family homes nationwide. Most people only find out until it’s too late that their high chair or car seat is dangerously defective. It’s time to start changing that. Our team of product recall lawyers is currently investigating cases of serious injury from dangerous products, drugs and medical devices. We provide free case reviews to potential clients nationwide, and never charge anything unless we win you a settlement or verdict.