If your child was harmed due to a defective baby crib in or around Long Beach, California, we want to help. Call Madison Law Group today for a free case review.
Before your baby is even born, you become a parent. This includes worrying about all of the many what-ifs, and trying to make your home as safe as possible for your child. You may spend your pregnancy meticulously watching what you eat, attending every single doctor appointment, and putting together the perfect nursery for your little bundle of joy.
Cultivating a home that is baby-friendly is about more than just choosing the perfect pastel color palette for the nursery or installing child-proof locks throughout your house. Safety considerations are also a high priority when it comes to picking out larger baby items, such as high chairs, car seats, playpens, strollers, and of course, cribs.
Most parents do their due diligence by researching top-of-the-line baby products, looking for items with the highest safety ratings. This is important because a badly made product could quite literally endanger your baby’s life.
Data published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that every year, tens of thousands of infants and babies sustain serious crib-related injuries. Over the past decade or so, millions of defective cribs have been recalled and sadly, millions of hazardous and unsafe cribs are still currently being used by new parents.
If your child was injured due to a defective baby crib, a Long Beach defective baby crib lawyer from Madison Law Group can assess your potential claim in a free case review, and help make sure that your right to financial compensation is protected.
Common Causes of Crib Injuries
More than nine million drop-side style baby cribs have been recalled, and government restrictions have since banned the production of any more. There are, however, still many other common causes of crib-related injuries such as:
- Side slats that come loose or break off, resulting in choking or other injuries
- Sharp crib components that can cut an infant
- Defective hardware
- Hardware breakage
- Gaps between the side of the crib and the mattress, which can lead to entrapment or suffocation
If you have any concerns about crib safety or crib recalls, you can visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Safe Sleep website. This site has a voluminous database that will help you determine whether or not your crib make and model has been recalled, review consumer complaints, and report any issues you have experienced with your baby’s crib.
The most common kinds of injuries caused by faulty or defective cribs include nerve damage, sudden infant death, soft tissue damage, head contusions, minor head injuries, broken toes, arms, fingers, or noses, traumatic brain injuries, and death.
Causes of Crib-Related Infant Deaths
The most common causes of fatal crib injuries include:
A litany of fall hazards are associated with badly assembled, constructed, or designed baby cribs. Some cribs come with a high risk of falls due to their design, such as a drop-side crib. Should the drop-side suddenly disengage, an infant could fall out of their crib or get stuck. Unfortunately, fall hazards are not the only dangers associated with drop-side cribs. Entrapment hazards are also a common crib danger. Drop-side cribs were discontinued after dozens of confirmed infant deaths occured.
It is possible for a baby’s little fingers to get caught in a drop-side crib. This is a very dangerous scenario because their fingers could potentially be broken or even severed. This creates an emergency situation in which the child must be taken to hospital immediately. If they do not get to the emergency room fast enough, they could experience catastrophic blood loss. It may give you some degree of comfort to think that this kind of accident is uncommon, but an estimated 20,000 infants and young children are admitted to hospital emergency rooms every year because of crib entrapment accidents.
One of the most appalling dangers associated with baby cribs is the possibility of asphyxiation. Cribs that come with mesh lining are the ones most commonly linked to this type of danger. New parents would be well advised to avoid purchasing any crib that comes with a fixed or detachable mesh lining. You also should not add a mesh lining or any type of fabric lining to your existing crib. While it was once thought of as a safety measure to prevent the infant from bumping their head on the hard bars of the crib, we now know that they actually pose far more serious dangers than they prevent.
There are many other hazards associated with baby cribs that are less common but just as dangerous. For example, poisoning could occur if you are using a crib with lead paint. If a baby swallows a bit of paint that is chipping off the crib, they will ingest the lead as well. There are also choking hazards that can surface if the crib’s components are detachable or improperly installed.
The truth is, there are a seemingly endless potential dangers where cribs are involved, making consumer vigilance a vital part of choosing a crib for your baby. There are even hazards that don’t have anything to do with manufacturing. For instance, improper maintenance or improper assembly can cause serious issues that can ultimately hurt your child.
If your child was injured due to any of the dangers listed above, please reach out to a Long Beach, CA catastrophic injuries attorney from Madison Law Group right away.
Safety Concerns and Crib Design
There are a lot of different kinds of baby cribs available to those looking to buy. The vast selection is not surprising when you consider the wide variety of consumers who need a crib, each with their own set of wants and needs.
For instance, a family that lives in a tiny studio apartment in New York City will likely be shopping for a much smaller crib than a family that lives in a spacious four bedroom home in the suburbs. Here are a few different designs of infant cribs:
- Hardwood cribs: These range from handmade and incredibly pricey to mass-produced. As its name implies, these cribs are made in a variety of woods, typically those that are long-lasting and durable, such as oak.
- Convertible Cribs: A convertible-style crib is one that “converts” into another piece of baby furniture, such as a toddler-sized bed. This can be a cost-effective purchase as there is no need to purchase a larger bed as your baby continues to grow.
- Loft Cribs: Loft cribs are designed in such a way that leaves them elevated above the ground to some extent.
- Custom Cribs: A custom crib is a crib that has been custom-made for aesthetics, quality, and safety. Custom-made cribs are rather expensive but their value and safety make them a worthwhile purchase for many new parents.
- Drop-side cribs (recalled): A drop-side crib, as previously mentioned, is exactly what it sounds like; a crib where one side is able to be raised when a baby is using it unattended, and lowered when a parent wishes to retrieve the child out of the crib.
Although drop-side cribs were designed to be convenient for shorter parents and caregivers as well as those who have difficulties lifting or bending, they are also dangerous. Most drop-side cribs have a gap around the mattress in which a baby can get stuck, leading to neck or head trauma, suffocation, and even death.
The gaps that are located between the adjustable side and the other areas of the crib are not part of the design, but they can occur due to:
- Tracking, screws, bolts, or pegs that break or warp over time
- Wood that shrinks in the winter due to the decreased humidity, causing hardware to come loose
- Improper installation of the drop-side
- The drop-side crib being assembled and re-assembled numerous times
- The drop-side tracking becoming worn out
The most common problems with cribs are centered around drop-side and other styles of cribs that are disassembled and reassembled multiple times. The assembly process can strain or weaken the components, which increases the amount of risk involved in using the crib over time. Unlike other kinds of baby furniture, cribs are more prone to being taken apart and put back together numerous times, usually because some families move around a lot, while others use the same crib for any subsequent children, or sell or give them away once they no longer need them.
Depending on the quality and brand name, cribs can be very expensive, and most children only use them for two or three years. It stands to reason that parents want to reuse the crib they already purchased when they have another baby. A lot of parents also shop yard sales and use sites such as Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to find a pre-owned crib that is less expensive than buying one that is brand new. Unfortunately, this attempt at saving money can be fraught with potentially life-threatening problems.
What is the Difference Between a Ban and a Recall?
When a consumer product is banned, it means that retailers and manufacturers are no longer able to sell the item anywhere in the United States.
When there is a recall, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission issues a statement saying that an item that is already on the market should not be used, even if you already purchased it. When an item is subject to a recall, it is usually accompanied by information that advises the consumer on how and where to return it to collect a refund.
When a spate of drop-side crib recalls took place in 2010, the recall affected multiple manufacturers. Proposed solutions included replacement cribs, components that would allow the drop-side to be modified, and complete refunds. The owners of any drop-side cribs were given information on how to get in touch with the retailer and the manufacturer so they could either order a new crib, get free replacement parts, or get their money back.
In the end, every single drop-side crib, no matter the style or manufacturer, was recalled. Starting in June 2011, any cribs that were sold in the United States had to uphold new federal requirements. The CPSC also advised parents not to try to fix a broken crib unless the manufacturer had provided them with the exact parts and detailed instructions. Failing that, it was suggested that parents needed to purchase a brand new crib if the one they were currently using did not meet the new benchmarks for safety.
Current Crib Safety Standards
The current crib safety criteria state that cribs slats must be no further than two and three-eighth inches apart, have no loose or missing slats, no ornamental corners that are more than one-sixteenth of an inch taller than a post. Additionally, the crib must have no lead paint, and no sharp or oddly-shaped cut-out designs. In addition to this, all cribs are required to come with proper instructions regarding their assembly along with a federal warning label.
If you discover that your child’s crib is in violation of any of these criteria, you need to strongly consider buying a new crib. If your infant or young child was injured due to a violation of any of these safety standards, you should contact an experienced Long Beach product liability lawyer from Madison Law Group today.
Filing a Product Liability Claim for a Defective Crib
If your infant or young child sustained injuries or was killed due to a defective baby crib, you might be eligible to file either a wrongful death lawsuit or a product liability lawsuit.
There are three different causes of action you might have as the basis for a product liability suit:
- Strict Liability: Companies that manufacture products like baby cribs are held to a standard of strict liability. In other words, if a crib manufacturer allowed a defective product or a product with a defective component into the stream of commerce, then they are legally liable for any injuries directly caused by that defect. The victim does not need to show that the manufacturing company was negligent. They only need to show that the product they manufactured was defective and that defect was the immediate cause of injuries or death.
Strict liability means that a product liability claim can be filed for a design flaw (a flaw in the original design of the crib that created a danger), a manufacturing error (an error made during the transportation or assembly of the crib), or a marketing defect (this happens when the company fails to provide proper instructions or adequate warning labels).
- Negligence: In some cases, product liability suits are based on the legal theory of negligence. In these instances, the plaintiff will show that the distributor, retailer, or manufacturer failed to uphold the same standard of care as others in the same or a similar industry. You should always speak with an experienced Long Beach personal injury lawyer from Madison Law Group for help determining the correct basis of your product liability claim.
- Breach of Warranty: Cases that involve a breach of warranty center around the fact that a product that is used as intended ought to be safe. If a distributor, retailer, or manufacturer breached any kind of implied warranty regarding a baby crib that resulted in a child being injured or killed, the framework for the lawsuit is most likely going to be a breach of warranty.
Other Negligent Parties
When considering baby crib injuries, a lot of parents probably imagine them in terms of their own homes. Unfortunately, preschools and daycare centers also use cribs that could be dangerously defective. If your infant or young child was injured at a preschool or daycare center facility that used cribs for babies, and the cribs they used had been previously recalled or were hazardous in any way, you might be entitled to collect compensation from the facility.
Compensation in Crib Lawsuits
Although no amount of financial compensation is ever worth a child being harmed, the harsh reality is that, following a serious injury, most parents are faced with significant hospital bills and a loss of income caused by taking off work to care for their injured child.
In cases where the harm was especially egregious, the injured child’s parents might also be entitled to punitive damages. These damages are non-compensatory and are designed to act as a punishment to the manufacturer for putting a faulty baby crib on the market while at the same time deterring similar future acts.
If you child was tragically killed due a defective baby crib, one of our Long Beach wrongful death attorneys can help you obtain financial compensation as well as hold the manufacturer responsible for the tragedy. Contact us for a free case review.
How to Keep Your Baby Safe
To ensure the safety of sleeping babies, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that:
- Babies should sleep on their backs until they are one year old: Babies who sleep on their backs are less likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than a baby who sleeps on their side or their stomach.
After your baby has figured out how to roll from front to back and back to front, it means they are now able to get enough air by turning their head on their own. If, however, your baby is only able to roll from back to front, they will need to be repositioned every time they do so.
- They should only sleep on firm surfaces: While, as an adult, you may enjoy a fluffy mattress or a soft sofa, it is not a safe sleeping surface for a baby. A baby’s sleeping area should be equipped with a nice, firm mattress that fits the crib, bassinet, or playpen exactly, and a fitted sheet that is the proper size for the mattress. A tip for how to tell if the mattress or other surface is firm enough for a sleeping baby is that there should be no indentation made when the baby is lying on it.
- Babies need their own sleeping area: It is not uncommon for new parents to want to have their baby in the bed with them, even if it’s just occasionally. As understandable as this is, it simply isn’t safe. It is fine to have your baby in the bed for cuddling, comforting, and feeding, but they need to go back to their bassinet or their crib to sleep. Most adult beds have lots of bedding and pillows that could cause your baby to suffocate. Additionally, new parents are usually pretty exhausted and, once asleep, might not be easy to wake up. As vigilant as you might endeavor to be with a baby in your bed, there have been cases of a parent rolling over onto their baby and causing injuries or worse.
- Never share your bed: Many pediatricians strongly advise against bed-sharing and co-sleeping. In addition to the hazards mentioned above, co-sleeping can be even more dangerous if you meet anyone of the following criteria:
- Your baby is not yet four months old
- You or anyone else in the bed smokes
- The baby’s mother smoked while she was pregnant
- Anyone in the bed drinks or takes medicine that could make them difficult to awaken
- There are any pillows or soft bedclothes, or if your mattress or sleeping area, such as an armchair or a couch, is soft, or if you have a waterbed or an old mattress
- Sharing a room is best: Sharing a room with your baby lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, whereas sharing a bed raises this risk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sharing a room with your baby can reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Room sharing is strongly recommended for at least the first six months of your child’s life so you can keep a close eye on your infant.
- Remove all loose bedding and soft objects from your baby’s sleep area: You should remove any items that could increase the risk of suffocation, entrapment, or strangulation such as toys, blankets, stuffed animals, and crib bumpers. A stuffed bear sitting in the corner of the bassinet or baby crib might look adorable, but it can also pose a serious safety risk. Keep in mind that at some point, your baby is going to roll over for the very first time. You may think that a stuffed animal or a pillow is far enough from your baby who isn’t even mobile yet, until one day when you discover them on the other side of their crib. You might think that they cannot move or roll but they will eventually, often when you were not expecting it. Swaddling an infant notwithstanding, you should never use a blanket to keep your baby warm. If you think they might get cold, you should dress them in warmer pajamas such as a zip-up blanket sleeper, or another kind of wearable blanket rather than a loose one.
- Never put a baby on a sofa or armchair without proper adult supervision: Doing so could be extremely dangerous because, along with the risk of suffocation, the baby is also at risk of being injured if they fall.
- Pacifiers are good for sleep soothing: Using a pacifier can decrease the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and help your child fall asleep peacefully. Always consult your pediatrician before making any changes to their routine.
Online Crib Safety Resources
Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is the best government-run website for crib safety information. The CPSC acts as a watchdog for defects and safety issues in baby cribs and numerous other products as well. The CPSC also wields a tremendous amount of influence when it comes to initiating product recalls. Their website should always be the first place you look when you want information on crib safety.
There are a lot of outstanding resources provided by state governments that offer invaluable crib safety information, but Oregon’s Safe Kids informational resource is one of the best. This website gives detailed illustrations and information on crib safety and is an excellent resource for anyone seeking information.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
This hospital developed an online source of crib safety information in response to the numerous crib-related injuries that its staff has dealt with over the years. Most hospitals only concern themselves with the treatment and care of their patients, but the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia goes above and beyond to provide a valuable and detailed community resource that ensures new parents are fully aware of the seriousness of crib-related injuries and how to prevent them.
Safe Kids Worldwide
Another reliable website that lists “preventing accidental injury” as its main purpose is Safe Kids Worldwide. Rather than being a federal or state-run website, Safe Kids USA is privately endowed for the philanthropic purpose of decreasing the number of injuries and deaths in children. This organization focuses on providing detailed information on a lot of different child safety topics, crib safety being one of them.
Baby Items and Product Liability Lawsuits
If a defective product caused injuries to your child, legal action is an appropriate response. There are three ways in which a product could be considered defective:
- Defective Design: Even a product that has been perfectly made can pose a danger to whoever is using it if the defect is part of its design. If a product does not work as it should when being used in the manner in which it was intended, it is considered unreasonably dangerous.
- Defective Marketing: Also known as a failure to warn, this defect focuses on the supply chain. It refers to products that were well-designed but did not come with proper warnings or instructions. This lack of direction and advice caused the product to pose an unreasonable danger to consumers.
- Defective Manufacturing: If a product was perfectly safe in its design but was made unsafe by an error in the manufacturing process which then caused injury to a consumer, the manufacturer can be held legally liable.
For instance, a drop-side crib is unsafe due to its defective design because it makes the crib inherently dangerous. If, however, you have a standard stationary-side baby crib and a slat comes loose and causes an injury, that would be a case of defective manufacturing.
Work With an Experienced Defective Baby Crib Lawyer
After their child has been injured by a defective crib or other baby product, most parents are scared, overwhelmed, and looking for legal guidance on the best way to collect financial compensation for their child’s medical bills, pain, suffering, and other damages. Talking to a skilled Long Beach child injury lawyer can help you determine which type of product liability claim you should file in order to be compensated for your child’s crib-related injuries. When a product liability lawsuit is successful, it can cover the expenses you are now facing due to product negligence, as well as prevent similar accidents from happening to other children.
Talk to a Long Beach Personal Injury Attorney Today
If your child was seriously injured by a defective or faulty baby crib, reach out to need our Long Beach, CA defective baby crib lawyers for a free case evaluation. We will fully examine the facts surrounding your child’s accident, review their medical records, and fight to get you the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries, pain and suffering, and any other compensation they are entitled to.
Our goal is to help our clients and their family members receive the maximum jury verdict or full settlement award for their personal injury cases. We want each and every client to recover the full amount for their lost income, medical bills, and other losses.
We represent the victims of Long Beach, CA personal injury accidents, as well as Westwood, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and all surrounding cities as well.