Articles Posted in Products Liability

Inside a Self-Driving Car

New data shows self-driving cars and driver-assisted systems were involved in hundreds of car accidents over a 10-month period. Tesla vehicles were tied to 70 percent of these car crashes.

Days after expanding its Tesla safety investigation, the federal government has released 10 months of data showing nearly 400 crashes involving self-driving and driver-assisted vehicles, according to The New York Times. Tesla vehicles were involved in 70 percent of the self-driving and driver-assisted crashes.

Of 392 crashes, 273 involved Tesla vehicles operating with Autopilot, Full Self Driving or related features, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Six people were killed while others were injured. The crashes ranged from serious collisions to fender benders or smaller incidents.

  • Honda vehicles were involved in 90 incidents.
  • Waymo, a driverless taxi service in Arizona, was involved in 62 crashes. The service is owned by Google’s parent company.
  • The G.M. Cruise taxi service was linked to 23 accidents in the San Francisco area.
  • Subaru reported 10 crashes; Ford, G.M., BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota and Porsche each reported 5 or fewer.

Last year, the NHTSA issued an order requiring automakers to report car accidents involving vehicles with driver-assist systems or fully-automated vehicles being tested on public roads. This is the first data release under the order and an NHTSA official cautioned the public not to make conclusions yet.

The data covers just 10 months, but provides no context on the total number of vehicles each manufacturer has on the road with automated technologies.

Tesla has about 830,000 vehicles with driver-assisted technologies on the road, according to The New York Times. But other companies, such as Ford and GM, also have technologies that allow hands-free driving in certain situations. They have sold fewer models.

In addition, automakers have long sold cars, trucks and SUVs with some level of driver-assist systems, such as cruise control or automatic braking when traffic ahead slows. With this data release, the NHTSA said it plans to keep collecting data on auto crashes involving these features and technologies, as a guide for future safety requirements.

NHTSA Expands Investigation of Tesla Autopilot Feature

The data comes as the NHTSA investigates years of car crash reports involving Tesla’s Autopilot feature. On June 9, the agency announced it was expanding the probe to include all four Tesla cars – Model S, Model X, Model 3 and Model Y – from 2014 and 2021, according to The New York Times.

The agency said it was upgrading its preliminary evaluation to an engineering analysis, a step required before a safety recall, according to The New York Times. The NHTSA has set a one-year timetable for the review.

The Texas-based company designs the world’s most popular luxury vehicles, many of which use the Autopilot technology to perform key aspects of driving, such as steering, accelerating and braking automatically within the lane. The NHTSA is investigating whether the Autopilot fails to prevent drivers from diverting their attention from the road and engaging in other unsafe behaviors.

This wouldn’t be the first Tesla recall. In November 2021, Tesla recalled almost 12,000 vehicles from its Full Self Driving beta test. This was a version of Autopilot designed for city driving. The company reported a software update could unexpectedly activate a vehicle’s emergency brakes.

Tesla Self-Driving Crash and Sleeping Driver Report in Massachusetts

Tesla crashes have made headlines across the country.

There was a bizarre story on the sleeping driver traveling in a Tesla vehicle on the MassPike back in 2019. A driver captured video of another driver and his passenger traveling in a Tesla vehicle in the next lane. Both were in a heavy sleep.

State Police called the behavior “extremely dangerous” and said the driver would be subject to criminal charges if they ever identified and located him. That never happened.

But State Police caught the driver in a Tesla self-driving crash in West Bridgewater in 2020.

According to news reports, a state trooper pulled over a college student in an SUV on Route 24 in West Bridgewater. A Tesla driver slammed into the trooper’s cruiser, then hit the 21-year-old’s vehicle as she reached for her registration. The driver was reportedly operating in Tesla’s Autopilot mode, according to a NBC Boston report. He was charged with negligent operation.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has over 125 years of combined experience successfully obtaining record recoveries for clients injured by negligent driving. Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving car accidents and commercial truck crashes across Massachusetts. We represent clients at all stages of motor vehicle accident cases, from insurance claims through to trial and appeal, if necessary.

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Defective extension cord powering holiday lights

Immediately replace holiday decorations and power appliances that are in poor condition. Another year of use could result in injury.

Though a time for joy, the holidays can also set the stage for potential injuries, as we rush, stress, decorate and wrap. Surprisingly, you may discover some of the most dangerous hazards right in your own home, among the holiday decorations and boxes you pull of storage to deck the halls.

While colorful and festive, holiday decorations contribute to many injuries each year. During 2019, nearly 15,000 people were injured in holiday decorating incidents and treated in emergency rooms, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nearly half of these injuries involved falls. Many others are injured each year after the decorations are hung, by defective or poorly-made products or decorations that are set up unsafely.

Unlike some situations, you have control of your home and can take steps to protect yourself, your family and holiday guests.

Start by simply walking around your home and checking your holiday decorations and your Christmas tree, if you have one. Make sure all your decorations are out of reach of young children and put away all tools, such as ladders and hammers, or boxes you may have left out while decorating.

Watch for unsafe products, such as those which arrive in questionable packaging or contain broken or small parts. Manufacturers have a responsibility to design products and provide reasonable warnings for safe use. There can be a high cost when manufacturers or others in the supply chain neglect their responsibilities in the rush to sell, or when individual sellers on Craiglist or Facebook Marketplace offer used goods without the original packaging. But it can happen and ruin a family’s holiday – unless you recognize the risk and act to prevent injury.

Use Caution While Hanging Holiday Decorations

Still have some decorating to do? Remember not to rush. During a season of merry and bright, you want to be safe and avoid injury. Holiday decorating can cause a range of injuries, from passing muscle strain to broken bones, though injuries can be much more serious, resulting in head injuries and even permanent disability. At a minimum, many people experience some muscle strain the next day after reaching and climbing. Planning can help!

So make a decorating plan. Team up with a family member or a friend so you have help carrying heavy boxes or using ladders or step stools.

Consider whether you are physically up for holiday decorating. As you get older, you may not be able to take on the same physical challenges. Acknowledge this before you start.

While you may be thinking, “Bah humbug,” you can still decorate. Just make a few adjustments for safety or to account for your late start. You can hang fewer holiday lights and hang them lower so you can stay off ladders, which are associated with many fall injuries during the holiday season.

Decorators of all ages should consider the cold weather. Even without snow or ice, you face a greater risk for muscle strain and injury during cold weather. It is never safe to climb a ladder in snow, ice, rain, winds or at night.

Water Your Christmas Tree Regularly

If you celebrate Christmas, your tree is the center of your holiday season, where you gather for family photos. But you should only purchase a live tree if you are home and have time to care for it.

Just as they bring joy, Christmas trees can cause devastation if they dry out and catch on fire. Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 160 Christmas tree fires across the U.S., resulting in injuries, deaths and millions of dollars in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These experiences can change a family and the holidays forever.

If you have already brought your tree inside, you may have cut 2 inches off the bottom before placing it in the tree stand. Now, your concern is watering the tree.

Regularly water your Christmas tree and keep it away from fireplaces and heating devices, which can accelerate drying out. The National Christmas Tree Association recommends that families check their tree daily and make sure the water level does not fall below the base of the tree.

Your Christmas tree stand is one of your most important holiday decorations in terms of safety. Choose one which can hold enough water to support your tree’s needs throughout the year. As a general rule, the association recommends stands provide one quart of water per inch of stem diameter.

If you are not up for a live tree, go artificial. Make sure your artificial Christmas tree is marked “flame-resistant.”

Watch for Defective Products and Check Holiday Extension Cords for Safety

Closely examine holiday decorations and equipment before you start decorating. Your trusted tools and supplies may have been recalled for safety since your last use or may not work well with newer products you have purchased.

Check ornament boxes for cracks; make sure ladders and foot stools are in good working condition, if you have to use them. Extension cords should be free from damage and cracks.

This is easy to forget. Many of us reach for extension cords after we start setting up decorations, not first. But here are a few points for safety on extension cords:

  • Extension cords should be tested by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL) or CSA Group Testing and Certification. Similarly, holiday lights should also be tested.
  • You should only use one extension cord at the most, so measure and buy one that meets your needs.
  • Make it a habit to check for safety recalls before you plug your holiday extension cords in. Just visit www.cpsc.gov and search for extension cord recalls
  • Replace your extension cords every few years. You trust these cords to light up your holiday and protect your family and home over the years, yet you expose them to more wear and tear than other products when you string them around your tree, furniture and take them in and out of storage each year.

Keep a Safe Home for Holiday Guests and Children

Consider what may be in a child’s reach or limit an older guest’s mobility. Move ornaments and decorations with small pieces and sharp edges out of reach. Remember children are curious and may pull at decorations or small broken lights found under a tree or plastic packaging you may have dropped while wrapping gifts. A child could find these, put them in their mouth and choke or suffocate – the worst thought for the holiday season.

Look beyond your holiday decorations as well. You may not be able to see all the hazards, so think about how your home products are powered. For example, flashlights and electric holiday lights may contain small button batteries, which a young child could find and swallow. So may your remote controls, including those you use to manage your holiday lights, and these can be too easy for children to open. You may treasure the holiday cards you receive, but these can also tempt children. Tuck away cards with removable pieces.

It is critical to think about fire prevention, especially before you invite guests into your home. Take a moment to test your smoke alarms. As we mentioned above, keep holiday decorations away from working fireplaces and stoves. Turn these appliances off when you have guests over and skip candle use for holiday ambiance or at the holiday meal.

Finally, we often hang or position decorations near entrances or hallways where people can enjoy them. This can bring joy, but block access to essential exits if a fire ever broke out. It is best to enjoy these somewhere else and keep all entrances and hallways clear.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in personal injury law, representing those who have been injured or killed by negligence across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington.

With more than 100 years combined experience, our lawyers have been recognized among the top personal injury attorneys in Massachusetts and New England. We represent clients in all areas of personal injury law, including injuries and wrongful death resulting from defective products.

If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.

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Child playing with safe toy

Don’t rush your holiday toy shopping. Take time to read and follow age-appropriate labels before you buy toys.

Many of us are feeling quite stressed about holiday shopping as we watch the news. Still, when you shop for a child, safety is essential. Slow down and look for a fun, safe and age-appropriate toy that will bring joy, not injury, into your home.

Read Age-Appropriate Warning Labels, Toy Packaging and Online Descriptions

You may think you are buying a safe because the toy was featured on a morning news program or has received top reviews online. But despite your best intentions, you may not actually be purchasing the same toy. To avoid buying a so-called counterfeit toy, look for reputable sellers, such as department stores. Try to purchase from brick-and-mortar stores.

Before purchasing or at home, closely examine the packaging on the toy and make sure it matches the manufacturer’s online description. If you purchased the toy online, the toy packaging should also match the description on Amazon or the online marketplace. Once the toy arrives, open and inspect the box contents.

Everything should be consistent, including the age-recommendation labels.

Check for Toy Recalls
The packaging is a tool to help you shop, as is the CPSC website, which you can check for toy safety recalls. In addition to recalling toys, the CPSC has also recalled many inclined infant sleepers over the past two years. Last summer, the commission approved a new federal safety standard for infant sleep products which will take effect in mid-2022. Here is one of our recent blogs on infant sleep products.

U.S. Toy-Related Injuries and Deaths by Age 2018-2020

No one wants to think about the possibility of a child suffering an injury while playing with their own toys. Yet this is a risk in when so many toys are sold online through Amazon, Ebay and other online marketplaces. Independent sellers can sell on these sites or quickly build their own websites, optimize them in the search engines, then close sites down.

Between 2018 and 2020, 50 children were killed in toy-related accidents across the U.S., according to CPSC data released in May 2021. Many children suffered suffocation and other injuries in accidents involving toys with small parts, balls, stuffed animals or accessories. Two children drowned on water toys. Seven children died in accidents involving non-motorized scooters and two were killed on nonmotorized riding toys.

In 2020, nine children were killed and nearly 150,000 children age 14 and younger were treated for toy-related injuries in hospital ERs. Here is a breakdown of toy-related injuries by age during 2020:

  • Children under 5 suffered 40 percent of all toy-related injuries.
  • Children age 12 and younger suffered 73 percent of toy-related injuries.
  • Children age 14 and younger suffered 75 percent of toy-related injuries.

Common Toy Shopping Mistakes

As we have discussed, you can reduce the risk of injury in your household by reading age recommendations and carefully inspecting toys and packaging. But you can also challenge yourself if you have these thoughts:

Buying Holiday Toys Because Just They Are Available or Priced Right

Earlier this month, the Toy Association shared positive news: 76 percent of parents surveyed said they read age recommendations before buying toys.

However, many can be swayed. About 65 percent of parents said they may buy a counterfeit/knock-off toy if their first choice was unavailable. Meanwhile, 63 percent said they could be influenced by a lower price.

Buying Outside Age-Recommendations for Toys

“This toy is marked age 8 and older, but my 5 ½ year old is up for challenging toys .” Sound familiar? The Toy Association reports 68 percent of parents share this thought and would buy a toy outside age recommendations.

Consider age-recommendation labels an important tool, designed to protect your child from choking, an eye or head injury or a broken bone. Age recommendations are not arbitrary; they are based on a toy’s performance under federal toy safety requirements.

For example, toys with small parts or balls have to undergo the “small parts cylinder” test. The cylinder has a diameter of 1.25 inches, with a slanted bottom opening 1 to 2.25 inches. If a toy or small part passes through the cylinder, it has to carry an age-warning label that states, “Choking Hazard – Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Yrs.” Read more about the small parts regulations for toys.

Read more in our Project KidSafe toy safety series.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Product Liability Attorneys

Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck has recovered millions of dollars in compensation for victims of negligence and wrongdoing in Massachusetts. Consistently recognized by Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers specialize in product liability, holding companies responsible for injuries and wrongful death caused by defective products, toys and vehicles.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is located in 2 Center Plaza in Boston, across the street from the Government Center T stop and Boston City Hall. If you have been injured, Breakstone, White & Gluck offers a free legal consultation. Learn your legal rights by calling and speaking with one of our attorneys today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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The Boppy Company recalls infant loungersThe Boppy Company has now recalled 3.3 million newborn loungers after the deaths of 8 infants. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and The Boppy Company announced the recall on September 23, 2021. Parents are urged to immediately stop using these products and to remove them from their homes.

The infants reportedly suffocated after being placed on their back, side or stomach in these loungers. The deaths were reported between December 2015 and June 2020.

The recalled products include:

  • Boppy Original Newborn Loungers
  • Boppy Preferred Newborn Loungers
  • Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Loungers

Prior to the recall, The Boppy Company sold the loungers from January 2004 through September 2021 for $30-$44. A total of 3.3 million loungers were sold in the U.S., including by Amazon, Walmart, Target and Pottery Barn Kids. Another 35,000 infant loungers were sold in Canada. The newborn loungers were sold in a number of colors and measured about 23 inches long, 22 inches wide and 7 inches high. Consumers can contact the company for a refund.

In the CPSC’s announcement, The Boppy Company said the infant lounger was not marketed as an infant sleep product and included warnings against unsupervised use. But the CPCS noted the loungers and pillow-like products are not safe near infants, who sleep so much and can quickly suffocate if they roll or turnover.

The CPSC emphasized babies should sleep on their backs, on a firm and flat surface in a crib, free from any blankets, pillows or padded crib bumpers.

The CPSC has been actively investigating the hazards of infant sleep products. On April 5, 2019, the CPSC and Fisher-Price issued a shocking consumer warning, stating that 10 infants, all 3 months or older, had died rolling over in the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers. Parents were initially urged to stop using the products when children turned 3 months or started to turn.

A week later, more than 30 reports of infant fatalities had emerged. On April 12, 2019, after nearly 10 years of sales, Fisher-Price issued a full recall of 4.7 million Rock n’ Play sleepers and warned parents to stop using the product.

The Washington Post later reported Fisher-Price had developed the Rock ‘n Play product after consulting one physician and had not conducted any clinical research. The newspaper would also report the number of infant deaths had risen to 90.

Infant Sleep Product Recalls and Deaths After the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play

After the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play recall, the CPSC announced several other infant sleeper recalls for products made by Kids II, Summer Infant, Graco and other companies. In June 2021, the CPSC announced another Fisher-Price recall for the  4-in-1 Rock ‘n Glide Soother, and warned that four infants had died while using the product between April 2019 and February 2020. This product went on the market in 2014 and 120,000 units were sold in the U.S.

At the same time, the CPSC announced the recall of 55,000 Fisher-Price 2-in-1- Soothe ‘n Play Gliders between November 2018 and May 2021. No fatalities were reported in association, but the CPSC warned consumers that, “Inclined products, such as gliders, soothers, rockers and swings are not safe for infant sleep, due to the risk of suffocation.”

In 2019, the CPSC released initial findings on infant sleep product research.

New Safety Standard For Infant Sleep Products

In June 2021, the CPSC approved a new federal standard for infant sleep products. Beginning next year, products intended or marketed for infant sleep must meet this new mandatory standard. Under the new standard, if an infant sleep product does not meet a current CPSC sleep standard, it must be tested to ensure the sleep surface angle is 10 degrees or less. The Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play had a 30-degree incline. Moving forward, infant sleep products must also comply with the CPSC’s safety standard for bassinets and cradles.

As the CPSC implements the new safety standard, the agency is also offering parents tips for putting infants to sleep safely. This starts with setting up your child’s sleep and play areas for safety.

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The Boston product liability lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have more than 100 years combined experience representing those injured or killed by defective products. If you or a loved one have been injured by a company’s negligence, learn your legal rights. Contact our law firm at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. Continue reading

At-Home Fitness Equipment

While convenient for parents, at-home treadmills, stationary bikes and fitness equipment can cause children serious injuries.

If you have jumped on the Peloton bandwagon, you are not alone. But many parents are exercising with more caution this week after learning about a child’s tragic death on a Peloton treadmill. Consumers are being urged to keep children away from the fitness equipment, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigates.

Peloton Interactive, Inc. became a household name during the 2019 holiday season, with a tongue-in-cheek ad campaign that poked fun at a husband and his “Peloton wife.” Then the pandemic began and Peloton became the fast rising star of the fitness industry. Many rushed to set up a high-end stationary bike or treadmill right at home, then logged into the fun digital app.

Peloton’s CEO announced the child’s death on a Tread+ last week in a letter, revealing the company was also aware of a small handful of other Tread+ accidents involving children. While he cited no injuries in these cases, NBC later reported that another child, a 3-year-old boy, had suffered serious injuries after being found trapped under a Peloton Tread+.

According to SaferProducts.gov, the child’s father had found the boy trapped under a Peloton Tread+ in early February. Initially, he was not breathing and had no pulse. The boy suffered a significant brain injury, along with a neck injury and petechiae on his face, which can occur when one’s blood flow is blocked. Peloton learned about the incident from the CPSC and said the company’s heart went out to the family.

If you or your child has been injured by an unsafe product, you should receive immediate medical care and report your injury promptly to help warn others. You do not have to make a report on your own. Report the incident with guidance from an experienced product liability lawyer at Breakstone, White & Gluck, who can advise you of your legal rights.

Treadmill Injuries

This is a timely investigation and conversation. Many families have purchased fitness equipment to use from the convenience of their homes as they juggle family and work responsibilities under COVID-19 restrictions. As a result, treadmill sales rose over 120 percent between March and October 2020, according to the Washington Post. Stationary bike sales nearly tripled.

Treadmills, though a convenient way to exercise from your home and office, are associated with many fitness equipment injuries. Across the country, emergency rooms treated an estimated 22,500 treadmill-related injuries during 2019, according to the CPSC. Children under 8 suffered about 2,000 injuries. There were 17 fatal injuries on treadmills between 2018 and 2020, including a 5-year-old girl.

Using Treadmills Safely in Your Home

According to Consumer Reports, children ages 1 to 6 suffer the most treadmill injuries of any age. Older siblings can also be injured when they just want to try the equipment and interactive features that look like video games.

Consider that young children are often just learning how to ride their first bike and developing their coordination skills. They are not strong enough to use a heavy, mechanical piece of equipment, not even for just a moment under an adult’s supervision.

Treadmill companies have a duty to warn consumers about the potential harm to children and how to prevent injuries to children. Manufacturers also have to watch how they showcase fitness equipment in ads and commercials. If a consumer sees a bike set up in a living room or family space, this may leave the impression that this is safe near children and families.

You can take steps to protect your children by securing fitness equipment in a separate room, away from your children and pets. Just as important, remove the safety key when you are done using the treadmill and fold it up if possible.

Mechanical Defects and Other Issues with Treadmills

When you buy fitness equipment, you may wonder whether you will enjoy using it or if it will be worth the investment. No one expects to be injured or see their child injured.

Yet there are many defective and unsafe products sold each year. This includes defective equipment which should have never been sold due to defective design or manufacturing error. Injuries can also happen when a manufacturer fails to warn the consumer about unsafe use. Manufacturers have a duty to promptly report when their products cause injury or wrongful death.

Many treadmill injuries can be traced back to poor manufacturing. Consumers have no warning about mechanical problems, such as spinning belts and erratic motors, until they use the machines. As a result, a consumer can lose their stop or fall, first hitting a moving treadmill and suffering head injuries or skin lacerations.

Improper set up can also contribute to injuries. Treadmills should come with instructions on where to safely place the equipment in your home or office. When a user misses a step, they are much more likely to get caught in the tread mat or hit a wall if they do not have adequate space. Read the instructions carefully as treadmills can come in different weights and sizes at times. As a guide, consider the ASTM International treadmill recommendations are to leave at least 6 1/2 feet of free space behind the treadmill. There should be about 1 ½ feet on each side. But your model may have different specifications.

Incomplete or incorrect labeling is another source for fitness equipment injuries. Without proper warning, the consumer cannot make the best decision about whether the product is safe for purchase and use in their home environment.

In addition to larger fitness equipment, be aware of small accessory equipment. Weights, air-filled exercise balls and yoga straps all look simple to use. But these fitness products can be poorly made with cheap materials, making them unsafe for both children and adults.

In one recent case, one of our attorneys led an investigation and negotiations which resulted in a $1.15 million product liability settlement for our client.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Defective Product Attorneys

Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston is committed to providing our clients with aggressive and thorough representation. If you or someone in your family has been injured by an unsafe product, contact our product liability lawyers. We serve clients across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Framingham, the North and South Shores, Cape Cod, Fall River and Worcester. For a free consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Parent sledding with children in Massachusetts February has delivered perfect sledding weather for Massachusetts families. But before you head out with your children, remember the risk for injuries can rise during outdoor winter activities. Sledding, skating and skiing push our bodies beyond our daily routines as we face the elements of cold weather, snow and ice.

More than 20,000 children are treated for sledding injuries on average each year, according to the National Safety Council. Children can be injured when a sled hits a stationary object, in collisions with other sledders or by flipping or falling off their sled. Sledding accidents such as these can result in broken bones, lacerations, bruises, concussions, head injuries or more serious injuries.

You can protect your children by sledding with them and teaching them safety fundamentals by example. Please read our tips and enjoy a fun and safe sledding experience:

Choose a Safe Sledding Spot

After asking friends for suggestions and searching online, visit a few local sledding hills on your own, without your children. Walk to the top of the sledding area. Check your cell phone service from that point. Sledding hills may look similar, but they are not all equal. Choose a sledding area that is free from trees or rocks that could cause your child injury. Avoid hills that are too close to streets and parking lots.

Look for sledding hills that are snow-covered, not ice-covered.

A walkthrough is particularly useful for parents of young children, who are most vulnerable to the cold. Time your walk and compare this to your child’s regular play time in the snow and their physical capabilities. Think about whether your child can the hill – both the steepness for sledding and walking up the hill.

Sled During The Day. There is less visibility and colder temperatures at night. Your best approach is to sled during the day, when the sun is out.

Sled With Your Children and Supervise

Sled as a Family. Plan at least one sledding day for your family each year. Besides being a lot of fun, this will create special memories. Sledding is also great way to get some fresh air and exercise for children, which we all need during the winter months.

Sled with Your Child and Their Friends. If your child or teenager wants to sled with friends, go along and watch. Enjoy this time but consider it a parenting assignment. You should really watch them just as you would if they were swimming, with your full attention. Keep your cell phone and a first aid kit within reach.

Sledding Manners. Teach your children to use good manners on the sledding hill. Even if there are no formal rules posted, your children should walk up the hill along the side of the sledding area. When sledding, they should not overcrowd sledders or attempt to run into them on the course. Once they reach the bottom of the hill, children should step off their sled.

Dress Warmly

When children are having fun, they may not realize how cold they are or be able to tell you.

Before you sled, make sure your child is wearing a warm winter coat, snow pants, hats, gloves or mittens. Purchase waterproof clothing. Your child should be warm and clothes should fit comfortably.

Take scarves off children before sledding. Also remove strings from clothing and accessories which can cause strangulation or get caught while your child sledding.

Safe Sleds and Helmets

Wear a Helmet. Encourage children to be aware of their surroundings and stay in control of their sleds as a good starting point to safety. Parents should also buy young children helmets to protect against head injuries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises parents can purchase helmets which meet the ASTM F14922 or Snell N-942 safety standard. If you have questions, we suggest you check the CPSC website which offers guidance on helmet designs for different activities. Another resource is your pediatrician. Ask for their specific suggestion for protecting your child.

Check Your Sleds. If you see sharp edges or cracks, replace your child’s sled.

Purchase a Safe Sled. There are many types of sleds: snow tubes, saucers or toboggans. Read age recommendations and product safety labels. Look for sleds which can be steered or have handles. Specifically look for ropes. While many sleds come with ropes, you can purchase sleds without any to protect young children against strangulation or getting caught on something.

Before you purchase a sled, make sure to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for safety recalls. Sleds can be designed with defects, such as faulty brakes on higher end models.

No Make-Shift Sleds. Do not allow your child to make their own sled out of furniture, cardboard or household objects. These products are not designed to carry your children on the snow.

Safe Sledding Techniques

Sledding Techniques. Pull your sled up next to theirs and show your children how to ride their sleds safely. Children should generally sit, hold the handles and ride face-forward down the hill. They should not ride stomach down or face first because they could flip or fall off. This can cause serious head or spinal cord injuries.

Riding Alone or Together? It’s a lot of fun to sled with your children or watch them ride together. The key is to find the right sled for the right number of sledders. And of course, the right hill!

Adults can pull young children. But for the most part, children should sled alone as they get older. It is important for them to steer their own sleds and hold on for themselves.

If you want to purchase a sled or tube that carries more than one child or adult, that’s a special experience. Read the manufacturer’s age recommendations, safety warnings and instructions. Look for a few online videos.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck is pleased to share our sledding tips as part of our Project KidSafe campaign. Through Project KidSafe, our goal is to help families protect against child injuries.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm, with more than 100 years combined experience. We represent clients in personal injury cases in Boston and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Mother playing with child and toyWhen a product is recalled, you may expect it will be removed from store shelves or online marketplaces. This is not always a safe assumption. In this year’s Trouble in Toyland report, U.S. PIRG reports several toys which were recalled this year were still being sold afterward on popular websites. Last year, a Wall Street Journal investigation found Amazon was selling thousands of unsafe or banned products.

These are upsetting headlines. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls toys when they pose a safety hazard to children. Recalls are typically only called after a report or several reports of injuries or near injuries.

Once a toy is recalled, consider it unsafe to use. Our Boston product liability lawyers share our safety tips for steering clear of unsafe toys this holiday season:

Look Up Past Toy Recalls

Visit the CPSC website and review product recalls for 2020. According to U.S. PIRG, 10 products were recalled in the 12 months between the release of its 2019 and 2020 report.

You can visit this website after you have selected a toy and before you make a purchase. Or it may be helpful to start your holiday shopping there. Search for “toy recalls” or look through all the product recalls. Note that this website does not include automobile recalls. You can find these on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website.

Beware of Amazon, Ebay and Marketplace Websites

Some retailers only offer their own products online. Others – such as Amazon and Ebay – are marketplaces where different vendors sell products and toys. These products may be new or they may be used.

Both the sellers and websites have a responsibility to make sure they are not selling recalled products.

In August 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was selling more than 4,000 items which federal agencies had declared unsafe or banned. Others had misleading labeling. At least 2,000 listings were for unsafe toys and medications.

The story showed the challenges Amazon has regulating its own marketplace. If you shop on Amazon or EBay, look for information about the seller. Is a company the seller or an individual? If you have never heard of the seller, you may not want to make a purchase.

Watch for Small Parts

When buying online, one potential danger is buying a toy which contains small parts. To protect your children, always read age recommendations and look for warning labels.

Toys which are designed for children under age 3 should be labeled if they contain small parts. Toys for children age 3 to 6 must also be labeled if they contain small parts. Read our blog on identifying small parts and toy safety warnings.

Beware of Purchasing Toys on Social Media Sites

You may have heard of Facebook Marketplace or other social media sites where you can sell used toys and products. Avoid buying used toys for children here during the holidays. We also suggest you avoid buying toys from these sites during other seasons, but especially during the holidays when many of us just wait for online sales to pop up.

There is no quality control. In most cases, the product is no longer in the packaging so you can’t read the safety warnings and age recommendations.

If you buy a used product this way, you really have no way of knowing when it was purchased. You may not have a product number or product instructions.

Children’s products, such as cribs, car seats and strollers, may carry the greatest risks. These products are frequently recalled and many model types look similar. While it is illegal to sell recalled products, it happens.

One frightening story came after Fisher Price and Kids II issued their crib recalls in early 2019. Despite this, 1 in 10 daycares was still using a Fisher Price Rock n’ Play sleeper in August 2019. In Nov. 2019, Consumer Reports reported found hundreds of the recalled sleepers available online, on sites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. In addition, Consumer Reports warned other products – including Ikea dressers recalled in 2016 were still being sold.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Toy Safety Lawyers

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston specializes in the representation of clients injured by unsafe or defective toys and products. We are writing about toy safety this holiday season to help parents and families make safe shopping decisions. Read our past toy safety blogs.

For a free legal consultation, contact the Boston toy safety lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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In Massachusetts, we are washing our hands and using hand sanitizers as much as we can. We all want to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But now, it’s time to check your supply of sanitizer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urging the public to steer clear of nine brands because they contain methanol, a toxic substance.

Methanol is often used in industrial settings, where high concentrations of methanol vapor can lead to poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also called wood alcohol and is highly flammable.

Methanol can also be harmful when you handle it or absorb it through your skin, according to the FDA. The greater risk, though, is children or adolescents who may drink or ingest hand sanitizer. Certain adults may also be at risk or may have consumed the clear liquid accidentally. Parents and caregivers should respond immediately if they suspect a methanol hand sanitizer poisoning.

The hand sanitizers identified by the FDA show particularly high levels of methanol. Testing found one product contacted 81 percent methanol and no ethanol.

The FDA had asked Eskbiochem SA de CV of Mexico to remove the hand sanitizers from the market last week. When there was no response, the FDA issued its public warning on Friday (June 19, 2020).

The FDA advises consumers to avoid these hand sanitizers:

  • All-Clean Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-002-01)
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-007-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-008-04)
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-006-01)
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-010-10)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-005-03)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-009-01)
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer 80% Alcohol (NDC: 74589-003-01)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (NDC: 74589-001-01)

The agency advised consumers to carefully inspect sanitizers in their home before use and immediately dispose of these in appropriate hazardous waste containers. Consumers should not flush sanitizer or pour it down the drain. Read the FDA notice.

Symptoms of Methanol Poisoning

Methanol exposure can lead to methanol poisoning and severe symptoms, starting with nausea, vomiting, headache and blurred vision.  In the worst cases, those exposed can suffer permanent blindness, seizures, comas or permanent damage to the nervous system. Methanol poisoning can also result in death.

How Safe is Your Hand Sanitizer?

Hand sanitizer was in short supply for months. But you can now probably find your own bottle. If you use hand sanitizer, make a point to carry your own. Carefully read the label and regularly check the FDA website for recalls.

Hand sanitizer is a clear gel. It all looks the same, but each brand has a different alcohol content. For instance, your small pocket sanitizer probably has less alcohol than a nursing home or hospital, which has to meet greater fire safety regulations.

Our point is it would be hard to tell if you were being offered sanitizer with a high level of methanol or any dangerous substance. It’s better to control  your own supply. Read about the FDA’s work to ensure the safety of hand sanitizers.

Wash Your Hands Safely

The FDA reminds consumers to regularly wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are unavailable, the CDC recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer which contains at least 60 percent ethanol. Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about hand sanitizer safety.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has extensive experience representing those injured by defective products, including those which contain toxic chemical substances.

Manufacturers of cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and detergents have a responsibility to produce safe products and conduct thorough testing before distribution. End users, including restaurants, industrial workplaces and labs, also have a responsibility to follow safety guidelines when using chemical products. Mishandling chemicals can lead to chemical exposure, fires or serving clients unsafe food and beverages.

If you have been injured by a chemical exposure or explosion, learn your legal rights. 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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Zantac, a popular over-the-counter and prescription medication for heartburn, has been recalledIf you take Zantac or ranitidine, it is time to change your medication. On April 1st, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked manufacturers to immediately withdraw all medication from the market. This is due to concerns it contains a chemical which could cause cancer.

You will no longer be able to purchase the medication over the counter or refill existing prescriptions, according to the FDA. The agency has recommended alternative medications which you can discuss with your physician. While this announcement may come as a surprise during the COVID 19 outbreak, many had anticipated this move after the FDA’s initial warning last September and the subsequent recall of Zantac, the popular brand name medication, in October. Many other manufacturers have also issued voluntary recalls over the past six months.

The FDA announced testing showed ranitidine contained the contaminant N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, which is a probable human carcinogen. The agency said the decision was made on the “best available science.” NDMA is a known environmental containment which is already present in our surroundings. It is found in water, meat, dairy and vegetables, but at low levels is “not be expected to lead to an increase in the risk of cancer,” according to the FDA.

When testing ranitidine, the FDA said it did not observe unacceptable levels in many drug samples. But ultimately, the agency decided the drug should not be available to consumers unless the quality can be assured.

Specifically, testing found the NDMA levels in some products increased in rising temperatures, which may be involved in distribution and a patient’s handling of the drug. And as the ranitidine product aged, so did NDMA levels.

This new FDA announcement will impact many people and present challenges. Patients can usually remember their daily medications. But Zantac is typically a short-term medication which is available in many ways, over-the-counter, by prescription or in a hospital. Because of this, many people may recall suffering from heartburn or a stomach ulcer, but may not remember which medication they took. Another challenge is the medication was sold under many brand names.

If you used Zantac or ranitidine, then experienced cancer or other illness or symptoms, you may want to learn more to guide you in your future medical care. You may also have the right to seek financial compensation to pay for your medical bills and other losses. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston product liability lawyers are now reviewing cases for patients who may be affected by Zantac and ranitidine injuries. For a free no-obligation legal consultation, call (800) 379-1244 or (617) 723-7676.

Here are a few points to remember:

Look for product names of ranitidine medications

Zantac was widely used. According to USA Today, before recall, there were 15 million prescriptions of Zantac annually. The manufacturer was Sanofi.

However, ranitidine was also sold under other names. It was manufactured by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., which manufactured ranitidine products sold by Dr. Reddy, Kroger and Walgreens. Brand names included American Health Packaging, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Precision Dose, Appco Pharma, Sandoz Inc. (a division of Novartis) and Northwind Pharmaceuticals.

Talk to your doctor about your ranitidine use

If you are taking a medication for heartburn or ulcers, carefully read the product labeling to see if it contains ranitidine.

If you are taking a ranitidine medication, stop and contact your primary care physician. The FDA recommends patients take an alternative heartburn medication, such as Pepcid (famotidine), Tagamet (cimetidine), Nexium (esomeprazole), Prevacid (lansoprazole) or Prilosec (omeprazole). Discuss these with your physician. There have been no NDMA impurities found with these products, according to the April 1st announcement.

You may be thinking you don’t want to reach out to your doctor during the COVID-19 emergency, but this type of preventative step is important. You may have other medical conditions or other medications which you need to consider. Your doctor can advise you on how to take your medications safely.

Take care to safely dispose the medication

Due to the COVID 19 outbreak, the FDA is advising consumers to follow the disposal directions on packaging and dispose of medications at home, rather than a drug take-back location in your community.

Zantac lawsuits have already been  filed, with more expected

Patients have already filed Zantac lawsuits, alleging Sanofi, the manufacturer, failed to warn consumers that the medication contained NDMA and of potential risks. Our lawyers are advising and representing Massachusetts residents who may have been affected.

Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured by defective products, including unsafe medication and defective medical devices in Massachusetts. If you have taken Zantac or another ranitidine medication subject to FDA action, you may have suffered illness and want to learn more about your legal rights.  You can find more information on Breakstone, White & Gluck’s web page on Zantac and ranitidine or contact our attorneys.

For a free legal consultation, call our Boston product liability lawyers at (800) 379-1244 or (617) 723-7676. You can also send a message through our contact form.

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Infantino Baby Carrier RecallsParents place a great deal of trust in baby carriers to support their children. However, you should now check yours because it may not be as safe as you think.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a Feb. 6th recall notice for about 14,000 Infantino baby carriers sold by Amazon and Target between Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, 2019. Because the recalls took place over the holiday season, parents could have purchased a baby carrier or received one as a holiday gift.

While no injuries have been reported, the buckles on the infant carriers can break, causing a child’s fall. Parents should stop using the front-facing baby carriers and request a free replacement.

The Infantino carriers have a black or gray body, with black straps, and a front pocket. Look for the code sewn inside the carrier. This is the place to start because baby carriers often look similar.

Go Forward 4-in-1 Evolved Ergonomic Carrier

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Go Forward 4-in-1 Evolved Ergonomic Carrier

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Flip Front2back Carrier

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Up Close Newborn Carrier

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High Rate of Children’s Products Recalls

As you check if your baby carrier was recalled, look around your home for other children’s products, such as strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby furniture. Take a minute to visit the CPSC website and type in the product name. This is a good time of year to check children’s products because you may be using some of them more in the nice weather.

Children’s products have a high rate of recalls so it is best to check a few times of year and follow the news and the CPSC website. Manufacturers do not always contact parents directly and there are times parents may be using a hand-me-down recall product, making it harder to track product recalls or news about injuries.

But so far, 2020 has been a year to follow recall news. Just as the holiday season ended, a series of children’s product recalls began. On January 16th, the CPSC announced the recall of 2,000 “Baby Trend” strollers sold by Amazon and Target. Those too could drop children should the stroller hinge joints release and collapse under pressure.

Then on January 29th, the CPSC announced the recall of 165,000 infant sleepers from Summer Infant, Graco, Delta Enterprise Corp. and Evenflo. The inclined sleepers are the latest recalls in the wake of the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play, which was recalled in April 2019.

As authorities continue to investigate, families have reported more than 70 infant deaths in inclined infant sleepers. University of Arkansas researchers have studied these sleepers and recommended infants sleep on flat surfaces or less than a 10 degree incline if any. The Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and other sleepers placed children at a 30 degree incline, creating a risk for suffocation when infants attempted to turn.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Product Liability Lawyer

Breakstone, White & Gluck has obtained record results for plaintiffs in Massachusetts cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and product liability. If you or a loved one has been injured by an unsafe or defective product, our attorneys can advise you of your legal rights to seek compensation. For a free legal consultation, contact our product liability attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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