Attorney David W. White fitting helmets at Framingham Earth Day 2019. Part of Breakstone, White & Gluck's Project KidSafe campaign to prevent head injuries.

Attorney David W. White fitting helmets at Framingham Earth Day 2019. Part of Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign to prevent head injuries.

While many people enjoy cycling, very few enjoy the process of selecting and fitting a bicycle helmet. The challenge is even greater for parents who have to find helmets for their children.

Breakstone, White & Gluck launched our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to help children and families, along with other cyclists, overcome some of the challenges. Read some of our tips for getting started with a bicycle helmet which fits and protects:

  • Before you shop, find a flexible tape measure and measure around your head. Measure from about an inch above your eyebrows.
  • Rather than shopping online, try to purchase a helmet at a local bicycle shop. Ask the staff to help you fit it properly.
  • Before you purchase, ask if the helmet meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
  • Don’t share bicycle helmets. Each cyclist should have their own helmet.
  • Store your helmet inside and avoid exposing it to heat in sunlight unless you are wearing it. Don’t leave it in your car for any extended period.
  • Replace bicycle helmets when they become worn or if you or your child outgrow yours. You may want to consider buying a new helmet every three years. From the outside, your helmet may appear to be in good condition. Yet the protective material inside can deteriorate without any visible signs.
  • Immediately replace bicycle helmets which hit the ground in a bicycle accident or fall.
  • Carry your bicycle helmet if you want to use a bikeshare. Make it a rule not to rent a bike without a helmet.
  • Plan ahead: Keep an extra bicycle helmet at work or at home.
  • Remember, parents who wear helmets encourage children to wear helmets.
  • Take children to bicycle safety events in the community to encourage their interest in cycling and safety.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents those injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others across Massachusetts. After more than two decades of representing cyclists who have been injured, the firm’s partners launched the Project KidSafe campaign to help prevent injuries on bikes and encourage children to wear helmets throughout their lives. The firm specializes in all areas of personal injury law.

Learn more about our attorneys.

Learn more about the Project KidSafe campaign.

Watch a video demonstrating how to fit a bicycle helmet.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support bicycle safety during Bay State Bike Week and Bike Month again in 2019. All three of our partners – Attorney David W. White, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck – participated, giving away bicycle helmets as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Our goal: to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets at all times to protect against head injuries. Now in our seventh year, Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children in Massachusetts.

Boston Bike to Work Day

Attorney David W. White and Attorney Marc L. Breakstone were back on Boston City Hall Plaza on May 17th, as Boston celebrated Bike to Work Day. This was our 5th year out on City Hall Plaza during Bike Week. Attorney White fitted about 70 helmets for cyclists over two hours and we got a special surprise – getting to meet Tim Wakefield! He was nice enough to sign one of our Project KidSafe helmets. We also got to visit with other friends, including Lee Toma of Bike Milton and Galen Mook, executive director of MassBike.

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Attorney David W. White and Attorney Marc L. Breakstone with Tim Wakefield, World Series Champion Pitcher for the Red Sox ’04 and ’07. Now NESN studio analyst for the Red Sox. Boston Bike to Work Day, May 17, 2019.

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Attorney David W. White (center) with Lee Toma of Bike Milton (left) and Galen Mook, executive director of Mass Bike (right). Boston Bike to Work Day, May 17th, 2019.

Our reminder to cyclists: Inspect your helmet regularly to make sure it’s in riding condition. As a rule, replace your helmet at least once every three years; you may need to do this sooner, especially if you ride every day. And always replace your helmet immediately if you are involved in a bicycle accident or fall. Please visit this website for more bicycle helmet safety tips.

Cambridge Police Department

Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate 200 bicycle helmets to the Cambridge Police Department for the fourth year. Attorney David W. White and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck recently visited with Cambridge police officers who work to educate the public about bicycle safety laws on a daily basis. The City of Cambridge works to promote bicycle safety and has been recognized as a Gold-Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. More than 100 Cambridge police officers – or more than one third of the city’s 282 sworn in officers – have been trained on bike patrol to help keep roads safe.

The City of Cambridge announced our donation during Bay State Bike Week.

Quincy Police Department

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Attorney David W. White with Quincy police officers. From left, Officer Greg Mar, Lt. Robert Bina, Officer Matthew Miller and Officer Greg Hartnett.

For the third year, Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to partner with the Quincy Police Department to encourage bike safety in the city. Quincy Police announced our donation of 200 bicycle helmets during Bay State Bike Week. Officers will use the helmets to benefit children through community programming. Each year, some of the helmets are given away through programs such as the annual DARE camp for 5th graders. Other helmets are given away at smaller gatherings, such as Coffee with a Cop, a program that allows residents to meet police officers and share their concerns and questions in an informal setting. Read the announcement on the Quincy Police Department website.

Everett Police Donation 2019

For the fourth year, Breakstone, White & Gluck donated more than 100 children’s bicycle helmets to the Everett Police Department. Officers gave away the helmets free to children and families at the Kids to Park Day at the Swan Street Park on May 18th.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has been recognized as one of the best personal injury law firms in Boston, by our clients, other lawyers and attorney rating services, such as Super Lawyers, U.S. News Best Lawyers and Martindale-Hubbell. Our attorneys have also been recognized for our Project KidSafe campaign by the League of American Bicyclists, which has named Breakstone, White & Gluck a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business. This is a special recognition. Just 36 businesses have been earned recognition in Massachusetts and just two law firms across New England.

We have also been recognized by the City of Boston, where we have donated helmets to various programs, including Boston Bike to Work Day, along with Boston Bikes’ Roll It Forward, Boston Bikes’ youth instruction programs and the Boston Police Department. Attorney David W. White has volunteered his time fitting helmets and Boston Bikes has recognized him as a Volunteer of the Year.

Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in all areas of personal injury law. We hope you are never injured, but if you are, it is important to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone recently authored an article which appears in the May 2019 edition of MATA Journal. The journal is published by the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys.


Assessing bias in voir dire after ‘Williams’

By Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

The recent Supreme Judicial Court decision in Commonwealth v. Williams, 481 Mass. 443 (2019), generated quite a buzz on the MATA Listserv. Members questioned the significance of the decision, which analyzes how a potential juror should be screened for impartiality.

The opinion suggests that, regardless of the biased opinions or beliefs expressed by a potential juror during voir dire, the juror could be deemed impartial as long as the juror pledges to either set aside or disregard their opinion, to commit to deciding the case on the evidence and to follow the court’s instructions.

Williams meticulously analyzes how trial judges should determine impartiality when a prospective juror expresses potentially interfering bias during jury selection. The majority begins with the acknowledgment that “[o]ur jurisprudence regarding how to assess beliefs or opinions expressed by prospective jurors during voir dire has been less than clear.” The opinion then promises to “set forth factors that a judge should consider when a prospective juror discloses a belief or opinion based on his or her world view.” Clarity on these important subjects is what every trial lawyer seeks.

Unfortunately, Williams raises more questions than it answers. The defendant in Williams was charged with possession with intent to distribute a class B substance. During jury selection, a prospective juror raised her hand in response to a question whether there was “anything about the subject matter or your views about the subject matter that would affect your ability to be fair and impartial in deciding the case?”

During judge-conducted voir dire, the juror stated a belief that the criminal justice system is rigged against young African American males. When asked by the judge if she could put aside that opinion and bias, the juror stated she did not think she could put it aside.

Continue reading this article in the MATA Journal. The article begins on page 2.


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has practiced law in Boston for more than 30 years and focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in personal injury and medical malpractice cases. He has long advocated for expanded attorney participation in voir dire in Massachusetts.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing clients who have been injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. If you have been injured or have lost a loved one, it is critical to learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Woman with SUV door open, putting cyclists at risk for dooring injuries.

Drivers are encouraged to watch for cyclists before they open vehicle doors because they could cause a dooring accident and seriously injure a cyclist.

In 2016, Cambridge resident Michael Charney began to push the Dutch Reach method for safely exiting vehicles in Massachusetts. His advocacy has greatly raised awareness about the technique, which encourages drivers and passengers to take a few simple steps and look for cyclists before opening their car doors (you can watch a quick video demonstration on his website). The goal is to prevent dooring injuries to cyclists. Now, he and other cyclists in the Boston area are celebrating another push forward: the rideshare company Lyft has added a notification to its app, alerting passengers stepping out of vehicles to look for cyclists.

“I’m delighted to see that Lyft has embraced the Dutch Reach, and the term Dutch Reach,” Charney told The Boston Globe.

Lyft has added the new feature in response to feedback from transportation advocates all over the country. In Massachusetts, a coalition of Boston-area cycling groups and committees teamed up in February and sent letters to both Uber and Lyft, reminding them that drivers have a responsibility not to obstruct bike lanes under Massachusetts law (M.G.L c. 89 § 4D). More than a dozen groups signed on, including the Somerville Bicycle Committee, MassBike, Boston Cyclists Union, Arlington Bicycle Advisory Commission, Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission and Bikes Not Bombs.

The coalition had called for the rideshare companies to take six steps:

  • Create the new app feature, which pushes warnings to passengers as they step out.
  • Educate drivers on their responsibility not to block bike lanes.
  • Adopt procedures to ensure drivers obey bike lane laws and create serious consequences for violations, including loss of rideshare privileges.
  • Share data regarding bike lane violations by rideshare drivers with the state and local communities.
  • Add a user feedback section related to bicycle safety.
  • Work with cities and towns to promote use of Loading Zones and Passenger Drop-Off Zones.

Boston and other major cities have already started creating specialized zones where rideshare passengers can safely board and exit. In March, the City of Boston announced a pilot program creating a dedicated rideshare activity zone in Fenway. Between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m., four spaces along Boylston Street, two north of Kimarnock Street and two south. During other hours, the spaces revert to metered parking. While part of the goal is preventing rideshare accidents, part of the goal is streamlining traffic flow to make things more predictable for rideshare drivers and residents.

While Lyft has added the new push notification to prevent bike dooring, both major rideshare companies have heard concerns about bicycle accidents and dooring injuries. Both companies also offer different perspectives than in the past. Both companies purchased bikeshare operating businesses to compliment their rideshare services in 2018. Uber acquired Jump and Lyft bought Motivate, becoming the largest bikeshare operator in the U.S. – and Boston. As part of the transaction, Lyft essentially became the new operator of BlueBikes, the regional bikeshare serving Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and Brookline. BlueBikes is still owned by the municipalities.

In 2018, Blue Cross Blue Shield took over as title sponsor. New Balance had been the original founding sponsor of the bike share in 2011, when it launched as Hubway (Some background: this isn’t the first time ownership of the regional bikeshare operating company has changed. Back in 2011, the original operator of Hubway was Alta Bicycles, which was then bought by Motivate, which operated the regional bike share from 2015 to last year).

Uber has not announced plans to join the bikeshare business in Massachusetts, but both companies – who went public earlier this year – have expressed interest in offering scooter rentals. Several companies have expressed interest in scooters, including Lime, the major operator of dockless bikes in the Boston area.  Many companies are waiting for Massachusetts lawmakers to approve legislation clarifying their rights to rent out scooters here.

Local communities regulate bikeshares. But rideshare safety regulations come from the state. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the state’s first bill regulating rideshare vehicles into law in 2016. This bill required rideshare drivers to purchase minimum levels of auto insurance and required background checks for the first.

Industry regulations were a start. Now attention must be paid to safety and what’s happening on the street. We have heard from the cyclists. Other initial research has already shown that ridesharing is associated with a 2-3 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents in U.S. cities (Source: Sept. 2018 paper presented at the Stigler Center for the Study of Economy and the State at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business).

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck is based in Government Center in Boston. Our personal injury lawyers specialize in representing those injured in car accidents, bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents, including those involving rideshare vehicles. For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys and learn your rights at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also send us a message use our contact form.

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Settlement was reached during trial in Middlesex Superior Court

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, a Boston personal injury lawyer

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck successfully resolved a mild traumatic brain injury case  for our client, who was injured when heavy snow collapsed from a commercial warehouse roof onto her vehicle. During the recent jury trial in Middlesex Superior Court, Attorney Ron Gluck presented testimony from multiple expert witnesses including  a neurologist and  a meteorologist, who testified in support of his client’s case.

Four days into the trial,  the defendants made an offer that represented an 800% increase from  the pre- trial offer and the case was settled at that time, just before it would have gone to the jury for deliberation.  The settlement provides significant compensation for the injuries and damages that our client suffered.

Defendants
Attorney Gluck presented evidence showing that the three defendants – the property owner,  the property management company, and the company that leased the warehouse – took no action to remove snow from the warehouse roof and awning following 20 to 24 inches of snowfall. Defendants had a duty to provide a safe environment for those legally visiting the property, such as our client who was making a delivery to the loading dock at the time of her injury.

Trial and Litigation
Through extensive depositions taken during the litigation it was proven that the defendant corporations failed to establish policies for snow removal from the awning, which was located directly above the loading dock, and that none of the employees of the defendant corporations had any understanding of whose responsibility it was to remove snow from the roof. As a result, snow remained on the awning after a historic snow storm and fell onto the liftgate of plaintiff’s vehicle which slammed down onto her head, causing her injuries.

At trial, it was proven that our client was instructed to park her car directly below the awning in spite of the fact that the defendant was aware that snow had fallen from the awning onto the loading dock on prior occasions and that they knew it presented a danger to anyone standing under that awning.

The evidence presented at trial established that our client suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused multiple symptoms including memory loss, mood alteration, dizziness, headaches and involuntary movement of her limbs.  She underwent a long regimen of medical treatment for her injuries.

Settlement
At the beginning of the trial, the defendants denied that they were negligent and that their negligence caused our client’s injuries. But, as the trial proceeded and Attorney Gluck presented evidence, the defendants’ settlement offers grew each day until the case was settled on day four.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation: 800-379-1244

Breakstone, White & Gluck is known for our exemplary trial experience. Not every case can be or should be settled out of court. When our attorneys go to trial, we do so with the respect of our colleagues and judges, bringing over 100 years combined experience before Massachusetts trial and appeals courts. We are known for our successful outcomes and for holding defendants, from individuals and insurance companies, to the MBTA and corporations, accountable for their negligence to our clients.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, each of our partners has over 35 years of experience representing clients in serious personal injury claims in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have successfully presented our clients’ cases before the trial courts, the Appeals Court and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

If you have been injured, we can advise you on whether you may have the legal right to seek compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Attorneys’ Project KidSafe Campaign Gives Away 400 Children’s Bicycle Helmets in First Week of Community Events

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Breakstone, White & Gluck donated more than 120 free bicycle helmets to children and families at Framingham Earth Day on April 27, 2019. Above: Attorney David W. White with young cyclists who received helmets.

Breakstone, White & Gluck kicked off our Project KidSafe campaign in April, continuing on with our commitment to put bicycle helmets on Boston-area children who need one to prevent head injuries.

We always look forward to this time of year, giving away the helmets, talking to children and families about riding a bike (some of the kids are pretty excited!) and working with our community partners.

This year, our attorneys are partnering with more than 40 community organizations, including police departments, schools and bicycle committees. While our attorneys donate the helmets, these groups are critical in getting the helmets to children and encouraging helmet use. Many of these groups organize community events, where children can receive a free helmet, have it fitted specifically for them and ask questions about bicycle safety and traffic laws. These events are a lot of fun, teaching core bicycle skills and giving children the chance to interact with other cyclists, police officers and the community in a positive way. Children also have the opportunity to see others wearing bicycle helmets, which reinforces our message that helmets are essential.

Breakstone, White & Gluck founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of protecting children on bikes. This is our 7th year in 2019 and we plan to donate more than 4,000 bicycle helmets to children in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and other communities. To date, we have now donated more than 25,000 bicycle helmets to protect children.

These were the first few Project KidSafe helmet giveaways, most taking place on Saturday, April 27th:

Arlington Pierce School

Breakstone, White & Gluck donated 60 Project KidSafe helmets to fifth graders at Pierce School in Arlington, as part of its annual bike safety day during the week of April 22nd. This was the third year of the donation and our fifth year of supporting bike safety events in Arlington Public Schools. Our attorneys, MassBike and Arlington Police usually come out to talk about Massachusetts laws for cyclists, safety tips and just why wearing a helmet is important. Our attorneys were unable to participate this year due to scheduling, but we are told it was another event filled with valuable information and the students asked many good questions.

Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee

Watertown Little League Bike Helmet Giveaway. Helmets donated by Breakstone, White & Gluck.

The Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee were out on Saturday, April 27th, giving away roughly 70 bicycle helmets to children at Little League Opening Day. This marks the fifth year we have partnered with the committee to get helmets to local children. In the past, committee members have reached out to children with helmets at other community events, but this was their second visit to Little League Opening Day and they hope to continue on with this giveaway. Terrific work by the committee! Read more.

Westborough Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

Westborough families turned out strong for Healthy Kids Day at the Boroughs Family Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, which also took place on April 27th. Members of the Westborough Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee had a busy day, fitting more than 90 children for free bicycle helmets. This is familiar ground for committee members, who have volunteered their time for the past 5 years giving away the bicycle helmets and talking to families about safe riding. We thank them for their time and dedication each year.

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The Medford Bicycle Advisory Commission (also known as Medford Bikes) gave our Project KidSafe helmets to children who needed one the Medford Indoor Bike Rodeo, which was held at the city’s recreation center. The April 27th event was put on in partnership with the Medford Recreation Center and Massachusetts Safe Routes to School. Pat Bibbens of Medford Bikes led the children through skills training. This was the third year Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe have donated bicycle helmets in partnership with Medford Bikes.  In past years, the committee has also distributed our Project KidSafe helmets at community events at the Medford Public Library and the town’s annual Medford Day. Great work this year!

Framingham Earth Day

At Framingham Earth Day, Attorney David W. White and our volunteers, Attorney Denise Murphy (who happens to be David’s wife) and Framingham cyclist Bill Hanson fit more than 120 bicycle helmets for children on Saturday, April 27th. We set up next to the Bruce Freeman Trail tent, so cyclists had the opportunity to learn about the developing trail and the importance of wearing a helmet in one stop. Thanks to both of our volunteers!

Check out more of our photos from our Framingham Earth Day donation and follow our Project KidSafe campaign on Facebook.

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As part of our Project KidSafe campaign, Breakstone, White & Gluck was pleased to donate bicycle helmets in Watertown over the weekend. The Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee set up outside the Little League fields and reached out to children and parents, answering safety questions and fitting free helmets for children who needed one.  Committee members gave away roughly 70 of our Project KidSafe helmets.

This is the fifth year Breakstone, White & Gluck has donated bicycle helmets in partnership with the Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee. Over the years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has given more than 500 Project KidSafe bicycle helmets to children in the Watertown community.

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(Photo credit: Watertown Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee Facebook)

Breakstone, White & Gluck launched its Project KidSafe campaign in 2013, with a goal of keeping children safe on bikes in Massachusetts. We have since donated over 25,000 bicycle helmets to children in partnership with local bicycle committees, police departments, schools and other community organizations. Bicycle committees are a key part of our campaign, helping children and families select and fit helmets at fun and casual gatherings alongside friends and neighbors.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents individuals who have been injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. With more than 100 years combined experience, our lawyers are recognized throughout Massachusetts and New England for their work representing those injured. We are committed to supporting bicycle safety, supporting MassBike, Boston Bicyclists Union and other Boston-area bicycle clubs.

To learn more, visit Breakstone, White & Gluck’s website or our Project KidSafe campaign.

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Kids II sleeper recall

Kids II has recalled nearly 700,000 rocking sleepers, just two weeks after the stunning Fisher-Price recall.

There is a new and frightening warning out about infant sleepers. This time, families are being urged to stop using Kids II infant rocking sleepers because they have been linked to the deaths of five infants. Kids II recalled its entire line of infant rocking sleepers on Friday – approximately 36 models and 694,000 individual products – just two weeks after the stunning Fisher-Price recall.

Fisher-Price recalled 4.7 million of its Rock ‘n Play sleepers on April 12, after an investigation linked the product to more than 30 deaths over 10 years. This means that combined, the two companies sold more than 5.3 million defective sleepers to unknowing families.

Kids II introduced its sleepers in March 2012. Five infants have since died while using the sleepers after rolling from their back to their stomach while unrestrained or under other circumstances.

These sleepers were sold at Target, Walmart and Toys “R” Us as well as online, with a price tag of $40-$80. Parents and grandparents who own one should stop using the Kids II sleepers and contact the company for a recall or a voucher to use toward another product. Parents can call Kids II toll-free at 1-866-869-7954 8:00 a.m.to 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the company’s website.

Read the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall notice for a full list of the recalled sleepers. One of the models was sold with Disney branding.

In the Fisher-Price case, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the company, which is part of Mattel, initially announced the sleeper had been linked to at least 10 deaths in early April. The company said the deaths all involved children who were 3 months or older. The company’s remedy was for parents to stop using the rocker when children turned 3 months old or became capable of turning themselves over.

Soon after began the calls for a recall. Consumer Reports and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) were the leading advocates in both the Fisher-Price and Kids II sleeper recalls. Both products put children in canopy-like sleeper, which can rock to music and is highly likely to move if an infant can. The AAP warns the rocking sleepers are unsafe and create a risk for suffocation and strangulation. The academy advises that infants should only sleep on flat surfaces such as cribs or bassinets. The sleeping surface should be free of soft bedding, toys and other products.

After Friday’s recall, Consumer Reports asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission if the agency intends to recall all sleepers on the market. An agency spokesperson said it continues to actively investigate sleep products and was “reassessing the product class and hazards associated with it.” Meanwhile, Mattel has announced the Fisher-Price recall will cost the company $27.3 for the quarter ending March 31, 2019. But the recall won’t entirely remove the sleeper from homes. According to Consumer Reports, Fisher-Price sells the same product in Canada, but markets it as a “soothing seat.”

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Product Liability Attorneys
Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm which represents individuals who have been injured by unsafe products. When a product has caused injury, there should be an investigation to determine the cause, which often falls under three categories: defective design, manufacturing error or a failure to warn consumers about the potential for injury. If someone in your family has been injured by a defective product, learn your rights. Contact our Boston product liability lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper

Fisher-Price has recalled its Rock ‘n Play sleeper after an investigation found more than 30 infants died while using it.

It once looked the perfect place to nap and cuddle. But this adorable product – the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – wasn’t ever safe. Fisher-Price and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall of 4.7 million sleepers on April 12, 2019. Parents are being urged disassemble the sleeper and stop using it. The company expects to spend the next several months processing recalls.

Prior to the company’s action, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) had joined Consumer Reports in calling for the product’s removal, stating the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play failed to comply with its recommendations, which state infants should only sleep on flat and firm surfaces. Further, the AAP advises infants should not be left on the same surface as other bedding, toys or bumpers, which could increase the risk of infant suffocation or choking.

Fisher-Price, a division of Mattel, is asking parents to contact the company for a refund or voucher toward another Fisher-Price product. The company will offer a full refund for Rock ‘n Play sleepers purchased during the past six months.

Resources:

Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Recall Notice, Consumer Product Safety Commission

Mattel and Fisher-Price Recall Page for Parents

The Week of Bad Headlines for Fisher-Price

Fisher-Price and the CPSC announced the product’s recall on Friday, April 12th, following days of pressure from safety organizations. Fisher-Price had initially resisted.

On April 5, the CPSC and Fisher-Price released an initial warning and announced 10 infants had died in the Rock ‘n Play between 2015 and 2019. The infants were all 3 months or older and died after rolling over from their back to their stomach or side.

At that point, there was no recall, but parents were advised to stop placing children in the sleeper once they reach 3 months old, or earlier if they begin turning themselves over.

Days later, Consumer Reports came out with a troubling report linking the product to not 10, but 32 infant deaths since the 2009 release. The consumer watchdog called on the CPSC to immediately issue a recall of the defective product. In response, Fisher-Price said the company did not believe any of these deaths were caused by the sleeper. Rather, the company said medical and health conditions were cited as the cause in some deaths, and in other cases involved improper use of the sleeper.

Shortly after, Americans heard from the AAP: “This product is deadly and should be recalled immediately.”

Despite the AAP recommendations, Fisher-Price managed to introduce the Rock n’ Play and sold it for a decade. Before the recall, it was selling for $40 to $149 at various retailers. The product sits elevated in a canopy-like environment for sleeping and sitting and featuring a “motorized rocking motion” and musical tunes. The problem is when a baby’s head falls forward or sideways. This can block the child’s access to oxygen.

Parents should do careful research when buying children’s products. Monitor the CPSC website for warnings and recalls, as well as the Consumer Reports website. We can expect to hear more about the dangers of other sleeper products in the near future, as Consumer Reports continues its investigation. On April 11, it reported on four other child deaths linked to Kids II sleepers.

More Reading:
Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper Should Be Recalled Immediately, Consumer Reports

Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Recall, New York Times

Buying Safe Toys, Breakstone, White & Gluck Project KidSafe 

Contact the CPSC About Dangerous Products and Injuries
If you are ever injured while using a consumer product, you should contact the CPSC to report the injury. The CPSC is the federal agency responsible for overseeing the recall process, releasing warnings to the public and collecting injury data. The CPSC works with manufacturers to issue product recalls.


Free Legal Consultation – Contact a Boston Product Liability Lawyer

If you have been injured, it is also in your best interests to consult a Boston product liability attorney. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston attorneys have represented clients injured by defective products, medical devices and vehicles. Prompt investigation is necessary in product liability cases and our attorneys are known for our thorough, detailed and capable investigation.
For a free legal consultation, contact our lawyers today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Bike lanes in Inman Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Bike lanes in Inman Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Photo credit: www.bwglaw.com.

Over the past few years, there has been a growing sense of excitement about safer cycling in Cambridge. With a vote this week, the Cambridge City Council has signaled there is more to come.

The City of Cambridge has many bike lanes, but in 2017, city officials accelerated development of protected bike lanes, which place a physical barrier or extra room and road markings between cyclists and traffic. The city did this with a heavy heart, after fatal bicycle crashes claimed the lives of two cyclists in 2016. One of the cyclists was killed in Inman Square in a dooring crash; the other died in a bicycle collision with a truck in Porter Square.

Then, during 2017, the City of Cambridge rolled out new bike lanes in key travel corridors, including Brattle Street in Harvard Square and Massachusetts Avenue, near Cambridge Rindge & Latin, more than a mile altogether. The city finished the year with 25.8 miles of bike lanes, including 4.2 miles of separated bike lanes, according to a report by Wicked Local Cambridge.

Since then, cyclists and safety groups, such as Cambridge Bicycle Safety, have urged the Cambridge City Council to do more. This week, the City Council approved the Cycling Safety Ordinance, paving the way for more protected bike lanes.

The ordinance calls on the city to add protected bike lanes when roads identified by the Cambridge Bicycle Plan are reconstructed. Once complete, the bicycle plan will create an impressive 20-mile network of protected bike lanes.

The ordinance means residents no longer have to lobby for protected bike lanes when roads are rebuilt. Until now, city officials have had to grant permission on a street-by-street basis or not at all.

There may still be some debate though. The city manager can ultimately veto construction of a protected bike lane based on factors such as a street’s physical layout or the costs. If this happens, the manager must document the reason in writing.

Cambridge officials say they are unaware of any other communities in Massachusetts or across the U.S. which have adopted such a far-reaching policy to create protected bike lanes.

We suspect bicycle committees and planners far and wide will be watching. Protected bike lanes improve safety for cyclists, but the impact goes further by giving everyone on the road clear markings to follow. For drivers and their passengers, these markings are visual reminders not to drive, park or open vehicle doors in bike lanes or they could cause a bicycle crash in Cambridge or any other U.S. city.

StreetsBlog reported on a 2012 study on bike lanes published by the American Journal of Public Health. The study found cyclists on streets with bike lanes had a 50 percent lower chance of injury over streets without bike lanes. Meanwhile, protected bike lanes had the potential to reduce injuries by as much as 90 percent, which is a tremendous figure. Even multi-use paths and off-street trails had a lesser impact, reducing injury by 60 percent compared to roads with bike infrastructure.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston and Cambridge Bicycle Accident Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured by the negligence of drivers and rideshare vehicles in Massachusetts. If you have been injured, the most important step you can take is to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact our Cambridge bicycle accident attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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