Manufacturer of Child Seats Put Profits before Child Safety, Lawsuit Alleges
The manufacturer of a defective child seat, which caused several skull fractures and head injuries among young children, has made no effort to improve their products or make them safer, according to consumer safety advocates. A Reuters report states that despite facing several lawsuits from parents of injured children, South Africa-based Bumbo has done little to reconfigure these seats or make them safer.
Bumbo issued a defective product recall for the seats after 28 injuries were reported to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2007. Many of these injuries involved skull fractures. After the recall, the company place warning labels on the seats saying that they should not be used on elevated surfaces. Kevin and Lucy Ferrell filed a lawsuit on behalf of their son Colby. The 9-month-old suffered a skull fracture after he fell out of the seat. The couple had purchased the seat from Toys R Us.
Companies Knew about Defective Products
As part of the lawsuit, records were obtained from Bumbo that showed the company knew about the injuries and the potential for serious injury. There were about 300 reported incidents including many in other countries such as Great Britain. Bumbo maintains that its seats are safe when used as intended. Company representatives say that the seats should always be used on the floor and never at an elevation.
In addition to Bumbo, Toys R Us has also been named in lawsuits relating to these defective products, of knowingly selling a baby product that has caused injuries. In fact, one of the company’s buyers is quoted saying under oath in the litigation that she had never seen an infant product like the Bumbo seats that came without a safety restraint. She testified as she did not think it was safe. The lawsuit filed by the Ferrells alleges that Toys R Us has a significant profit margin on the seats and has stocked these items and sold them, even disregarding concerns raised by those within the company about their safety.
Holding Corporations Accountable
As a California personal injury lawyer who represents victims injured by defective products, it is encouraging to see parents like the Ferrells not giving up. Although their son was seriously injured, they are now “evangelists for seatbelts” because they do not want to see it happen to other children. This is yet another outcome of of civil litigation. It is not always about the money. In fact, more often, it is about making sure that the victims are heard. It is about making sure that negligent corporations are questioned, challenged, and forced to change their unscrupulous ways. In this particular case, it seems to me that both Bumbo and Toys R Us put profits over the welfare of these young children – babies. I would be very interested to see if federal officials impose a fine on these corporations. My heart goes out to all the families that have been affected by these dangerous and defective products.