Articles Posted in Products Liability

‘Tis the season to shop for holiday toys and gifts. Or to bring that product back, for a full refund or replacement?

While a record number of consumers shopped for the holidays, IKEA and Honda issued major safety recalls in November. We share an update on these recalls and continue our Project KidSafe series on toy safety.

Honda Odyssey Recall. It’s a replacement part if you own a Honda Odyssey and unfortunately, you can expect to wait.

Honda Odyssey van

107,000 Honda Odyssey vans because of a problem with the power doors. Photo: Wikipedia.

Just in time for the Thanksgiving drive, Honda recalled 107,000 Honda Odyssey vans because the power doors may improperly latch and can potentially open while the vehicle is in operation. Honda has not received any reports of injuries.

Honda recalled vehicles from the 2018 and 2019 model years on November 20, 2018. The automaker called on drivers to request replacement power sliding door kits through an authorized Honda dealer. Replacement parts should arrive at licensed dealers in late December.

Honda advised owners they can disable the power door. Use manual operation until replacements arrive.

This is not the first recall involving Honda Odyssey vans. Last year, 900,000 Odyssey models from 2011 – 2017 were also recalled. In that case, Honda reported second-row seats could tip forward if not properly latched. Tipping could happen during moderate or heavy braking if seats were not properly latched after adjusting side-to-side or reinstalling a removed seat. Honda received 46 reports of minor injuries.

To learn more about the recalls, visit the Honda website.

IKEA dining tables recall November 2018

IKEA recalled these dining room tables in November 2018 because the dining surface can collapse. Return for a refund.

IKEA Tables. It is a return if you have an IKEA table. The retailer recalled 8,200 dining tables in the U.S. and 1,500 in Canada on November 27, 2018, warning the table’s glass extension leaf can detach and drop.

This has already happened three times. IKEA reports one minor injury, requiring no medical attention.

These tables sold at IKEA stores and online from February 2017 through October 2018. They sold for approximately $300. IKEA says consumers  can return them for a full refund or a replacement table. Learn more on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Consumer Safety Tip: Consumers do not have to wait for the news media to report unsafe products and product recalls. You can view recalls online on the CPSC website and even sign up to receive email alerts when products are recalled. Visit the toy safety page on our website to learn how to sign up.

Not every recall is the same. The CPSC can release product recalls calling for refunds or replacements. Some products can be repaired easily. Others cannot. Consumers should pay attention to all recalls. Encourage friends and family to do the same: return and refund or replacement/repair. Another option is just remove the recalled product from your home, if it can be taken apart and discarded with care, so other children cannot reuse it.

A Decade of Toy Safety Efforts, Passage of Federal Safety Legislation to Protect Massachusetts Families

Toys can be defective and recalled after causing serious injuries.At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston product liability lawyers specialize in representing those injured by defective products. Toy injuries are common, even though toys should only be safe and fun for children. It is painful to learn they can be defective or may not have been fully tested or properly labeled. Defective toys can cause serious injuries, including fingertip lacerations, burns, facial injuries and broken bones. For children under age 3, the leading hazard is toys which contain small parts and balloons which can cause choking and suffocation. Toys should be tested to see if parts can fit through the “small parts” test. Those which pass through the “small parts” cylinder should have age-appropriate warnings, which read “Choking Hazard – Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Yrs.”

Among older children and teens, Hoverboards and riding toys are popular holiday gifts. These toys have injured and killed  in recent years, with Hoverboards also burning down homes as the lithium ion batteries charged.  Before you buy, check the CPSC’s safety standard for Hoverboards (UL2272 safety standard). Remember the standard is still new, first issued in 2016, and not an endorsement for safety. In fact, the CPSC has strongly urged consumers not to buy Hoverboards, as has W.A.T.C.H., the Boston-based non-profit which included Hoverboards on its “10 Worst Toys” lists.

Taking the time to check if a toy you want to buy – or already own – has been recalled can prevent injuries and save your loved ones’ lives. The number of toy recalls varies by year, but there are always recalls. So far in 2018, we have seen child-related recalls of dolls, toys with loose wheels, clothing, toys with excessive lead limits and go karts. In 2017, the CPSC reported 28 recalls of individual products. Over the past 10 years, 2008, 2009 and 2010 have seen the most toy recalls, with the highest number coming in 2008, when 172 toys were recalled, according to the CPSC.

This was the first year of major safety changes, including passage of the landmark Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008. For the first time, toys had to be tested to ensure compliance with the law and the CPSC was granted greater authority in overseeing toy safety standards. Federal limits were also imposed on toys containing lead and other chemical hazards. In December 2008, Mattel and subsidiary Fisher Price agreed to pay $12 million to Massachusetts and 38 other states over events leading to recalls of toys with lead levels above the new federal limit.

Beyond toys, children’s products are also subject to frequent recalls, including names like Graco car seats and Britax strollers. This is a frightening fact, because these products carry children.


Breakstone, White & Gluck writes about toy safety as part of our Project KidSafe campaign, with a goal of preventing toy-related injuries. Our recent blogs:

Trouble in Toyland Report Offers Valuable Warnings For Holiday Shoppers

Hitting the Safety Brake: A Warning About Battery-Operated Ride-On Toys

The 10 Worst Toys of 2018

Protect Your Children from Lithium Button Batteries

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There is “Trouble in Toyland.” For the 33rd year, U.S. PIRG has released its annual survey on toy safety. This is a widely respected survey, which over the years has dispensed valuable information to protect children and families. The survey has led to the recall of more than 150 unsafe toys.

Highlights from this year’s report:

  • Toys which have been recalled for safety issues over the past year
  • Toys which contain high levels of toxic materials, such as boron
  • Toys which do not meet labeling requirements
  • Toy regulations

Toy recalls

Over the past year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced more than 40 recalls of toys and children’s products, such as wagons and strollers. These recalls represent 2.7 million units. During its survey, the group did not find any recalled toys or products still being sold. This is good news for consumers, but you still need to check products for yourself by going online. You can visit the CPSC Recall list.

You can also check the U.S. PIRG’s “Trouble in Toyland” report, so you can be informed while you shop or to see if you have any recalled toys in your home (See Appendix 4, page 29). Many people do not hear about recalls so it’s worth checking.

If you find a recalled product, you can contact the manufacturer for a refund or a repair. In some cases with inexpensive toys, it may be best just to discard it from your home in a safe way. Move onto other toys.

U.S. PIRG has long advocated for improvements to the CPSC’s recall system. One concern is that companies are not required to report how many consumers actually return products for repairs or refunds.

Toxic Materials

The report focused on two toxic materials in toys: Lead and boron.

slime boy

Beware of Slime: U.S. PIRG Researchers found 6 popular Slime sets which contain dangerous levels of boron.

Lead. Lead was banned from household paint, children’s products and cookware 40 years ago. But federal law states children’s products made after August 2011 can contain no more than 100 parts per million. Because lead is highly dangerous when breathed in, be careful when buying toys such as paint sets and other products. Electronic devices can contain some lead parts, as can metal components of bicycles. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all products for children contain no more than trace amounts of lead (40 ppm).

Boron. Your child may be begging you to buy one of those popular slime toy sets. U.S. PIRG says you can’t trust these products are safe. Researchers found six slime products on the market had dangerously high levels of boron. One brand, “Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime,” contained concentrations as high as 4700 parts per million (ppm).

Boron is a chemical element used mostly in glass manufacturing, pesticides, antiseptics and detergents. Children can ingest small amounts, even less than 3.68 ppm and suffer symptoms of nausea, vomiting and potentially longer term impacts on reproductive health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports certain levels can even be lethal. Say the “Kangaroos Original Super Cool” slime has up to 4700 parts per million (ppm). Then consider that six states have made recommendations on boron limits in drinking water, non exceeding 1 ppm. It’s a frightening discrepancy. U.S. PIRG has asked the CPSC to explore setting limits on boron levels, as Canada and other countries have.

We recommend parents spend their money elsewhere this year. There are so many toys out there, which your child would enjoy without risk to their safety. Likewise, if your child plays at another friend’s home or goes to daycare, make sure the adult in charge knows you don’t want your child playing with slime sets.

Slime Toys with Dangerous Levels of Boron
Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime – Amazon – 4700 ppm
Kidsco Glow in The Dark Slime  – Amazon, Walmart – 4600 ppm
Toysmith Jupiter Juice Slime  – Amazon, Walmart – 1900 ppm
iBaseToy Fluffy Slime – Amazon – 1500 ppm
Haniex Soft Magic Crystal Slime – Amazon – 1400 ppm
Meland Fluffy Slime Amazon Boron – 1100 ppm
Data from U.S. PIRG “Trouble in Toyland” Report 2018.

Labeling

toy testing cylinder for small parts

Drawing of the small cylinder test for toys. Credit: CPSC website.

Toymakers are responsible for properly labeling their products, especially those with small parts which are not intended for children under age 3. This warning is essential. Children are often putting small parts in their mouths. From 2001 to 2016, more than 110 children died this way, according to U.S. PIRG.

What’s important for consumers to know is the CPSC has a Small Parts Ban. Toys must be tested to make sure they cannot pass through a test cylinder, which has a diameter of 1.25 inches. The cylinder has a slanted bottom, opening 1 to 2.25 inches. If a toy can pass through, it must be properly labeled: WARNING: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Yrs.

Researchers identified a few toys which are being sold online without age appropriate labels this year – Hatchimals and L.O.L. Surprise toys. Parents should watch and carefully inspect every purchase you make. A good rule of thumb is to open every toy well in advance of giving it to a young children. Open it out of your children’s reach, such as in a basement.

Balloons are another product which are not being labeled properly. Balloons should come with warnings that they are a potential choking hazard to children under 8 years old. Yet, 87 percent of the latex balloons on Amazon.com carried no warnings, according the survey.

Toy Regulations

As consumers, we deal with packaging, price tags and shipping dates more than regulations. But the “Trouble in Toyland” report shares three important regulations on page 17:

  • Small Parts Ban (1979)
  • The Child Safety Prevention Act of 1994
  • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008

Read the 2018 “Trouble in Toyland” report.


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

The Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in handling personal injury and product liability cases. This holiday season, we are committed to sharing our experience through our Project KidSafe blog series focusing on toy safety.

Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck: www.bwglaw.com.

We hope you are never injured, but if you or a loved one are, Breakstone, White & Gluck offers a free legal consultation to help you learn your rights. Our lawyers specialize in all areas of personal injury law, including car accidents, product liability, traumatic brain injuries and medical malpractice. We represent clients in Boston, Worcester, the South Shore, the North Shore, Cape Cod, MetroWest and throughout Western Massachusetts. If we can ever help you, please call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Dynacraft Ride-on Toy recalled in 2017

Dynacraft Ride-on Toys recalled 20,000 battery-operated ride-on toys after reports that the pedals were not working in 2017. Always check for product recalls before you buy any holiday toy. Photo credit: Consumer Product Safety Commission notices.

Battery-operated ride-on toys may look like fun holiday gifts. Parents and grandparents even have their choice of models, including the Jeep, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini to name a few.

Shoppers can get easily caught up in the “cuteness” factor. It’s not that simple, though. Ride-on toys can be heavy and motorized. Be cautious when buying, even with push or pedal ride-on toys, because you are trusting these toys to support your child.

W.A.T.C.H. has released its annual nominees for the 2018 Worst Toys list. The Boston non-profit warns shoppers to steer clear of the following toys this holiday season:

10 Worst Toys List

Photo courtesy: W.A.T.C.H. 2018 Worst Toys report.

Nickelodeon Nella Princess Knight Pillow Pets Sleeptime Lites
Parents should never leave infants in their cribs with toys, especially those with small pieces or strings. This toy is marked for ages 0+, for use as a nightlight or bedroom toy. While it does carry some warning labels – warning parents not to leave it in the crib or let children play with it unattended – this isn’t enough to protect children. W.A.T.C.H. cited this and other hazards, including small accessories and a warning about batteries which can leak. This toy is being sold online through Target.com and Google Express, as well as in Target stores.

Nerf Vortext VTX Praxis Blaster

10 Worst toys list nerf gun

Photo courtesy: W.A.T.C.H. 2018 Worst Toys report.

Nerf toys have received bad press for causing eye injuries. In this case, the Nerf gun is recommended for users age 8 and older and can shoot 10 discs in a row. W.A.T.C.H. calls this a potential hazard for eye and facial injuries. The blaster is sold at Target. Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, Ebay.com and Bonanza.com.

 

Marvel Black Panther Slash Claw
These make the list because they can cause injuries and can encourage hitting. The claws are encouraged for children age 5 and older and the packaging states children can “slash” like the Black Panther.” At the same time, the packaging also advises children not to swing at other people or animals and to steer clear of breakable objects. If children use the toy, they are likely to break all those warnings, which is why W.A.T.C.H. included it this year.

Power Rangers Super Ninja Steel Superstar Blade
This is a sword-like toy and made the list for poor taste and the potential for facial and other impact injuries.

cabbagepatch-doll

Photo courtesy: W.A.T.C.H. 2018 Worst Toys report.

Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll
You may think this is a sweet, fun gift. But the toy has a removable headband, which W.A.T.C.H. says can be ingested. The toy is marketed for children age 2+ and is sold at Target, Target.com, CabbagePatchKids.com, Bonanza.com and Blinq.com.

Zoo Jamz Xylophone
This Vtech brand toy made the list for presenting a potential choking hazard. A young child could put the drumstick handle in their mouth and block their airway, W.A.T.C.H. says. The product is designed for children age 1 1/2 to 4 years old. It is sold at Walmart, Walmart.com, as well as Amazon and other retailers.

Nici Wonderland Doll: Miniclara the Ballerina
This pink ballerina and her kitten are not safe, W.A.T.C.H. says. There is nothing wrong with the little girl, but the kitten can become detached and a child could ingest it. A few of the retailers selling the toy: Amazon.com, Walmart and Barnes & Noble.com.

Stomp Rocket Ultra Rocket
This product is for children age 6 and older. Children are supposed to step onto the pedal to launch the rocket. The rockets can go high – up to 200 feet. W.A.T.C.H. recommended parents keep it off their holiday shopping lists this year, saying it can cause serious eye or face injuries.

Cutting Fruit
Magnetic fruit toys with a hard plastic knife are not a safe gift, W.A.T.C.H. says. The set is marketed for children age 2+, even though the knife can be used to cause puncture wounds.

Chien Á Promener Pull Along Dog
W.A.T.C.H. says this toy falls between regulations and safety. Manufacturers can only market toys with strings under 12 inches for use in cribs and playpens. Pull toys don’t have the same restriction and the result is a toy with a 19-inch draw string can legally be sold to children. The age recommendation on this product is only 1-3 years old. There are no safety warnings. It is available on Amazon.com, Magic Beans and Mbeans.com.

More information on the 10 Worst Toys of 2018 list.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston law firm specializing in personal injury and product liability claims. We represent those who have been injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured, it is important to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation to cover lost wages, medical care and other financial losses. For a free legal consultation, contact the Boston personal injury lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Kidde Smoke Alarm Recall 2018

Kidde recalled nearly a half million smoke alarms which may have a dangerous yellow cap left inside. (Recall date: March 21, 2018; Photo: CPSC website)

Please check your smoke alarms when you get home. Kidde has recalled nearly half a million smoke alarms, urging consumers to check devices for yellow caps potentially left on during the manufacturing process. According to the company’s recall notice, the cap would be on one of two sensors inside the smoke detector, compromising the device. Consumers have to do this inspection carefully. You will be looking for the yellow cap through the opening on the side of the device, as shown in the photo. Be careful not to open the smoke alarm or take it apart.

Because Kidde is one of the largest manufacturers, every consumer should check their smoke alarm.  If you have a Kidde device, you will need to take it off the wall or ceiling to check the date code on the back. The recalled smoke alarms were dated September 10, 2016 through October 13, 2017. They were sold through January 2018 at Home Depot, Walmart and other retailers. They were manufactured in China, by Fyrnetics Limited, of Hong Kong.

Attorney David W. White of Boston

Attorney David W. White specializes in personal injury and product liability cases at Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston.

Ford drivers are gripping the steering wheel anxiously after the automaker’s stunning safety recall this week. 1.4 million Ford vehicles have been recalled because the bolts on the steering wheels can become loose. Ford will repair the vehicles, but not until the end of April at least.

“This recall is very upsetting,” said Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck. “Nothing is more basic to a car than a steering wheel. Automakers have a responsibility to fully test vehicles and all equipment before bringing them to market. They continue to fail drivers.”

This recall affects 2014-2018 models of the Ford Fusion and the Lincoln MKZ. According to Consumer Reports, Ford’s customer-service phone number is 866-436-7332 and Lincoln’s customer service phone number is 800-521-4140.

Ford has said it will replace the steering wheel bolt and install a larger nylon patch to maintain pressure. A company spokeswoman said consumers will be notified by mail the week of April 30th.

In announcing the recall, Ford said it was aware of two car accidents related to the defective steering wheels, one involving injury. This is not the full story though. After reviewing federal records, USA Today reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received more than 45 reports of the steering wheels becoming loose or falling off, some resulting in car crashes.

One driver said the steering wheel on his 2014 Ford Fusion became unstable and he drifted into a manhole, destroying his vehicle. Others said they had the frightening experience of having steering wheels come loose as they drove down the highway. One driver said all he did was bump the steering wheel with his knee and it came off.

Once a manufacturer determines there is a safety defect, it has 5 days to notify the NHTSA. Automakers are then responsible for recalling defective motor vehicles or equipment.

Americans may associate Toyota, General Motors and Takata with most auto recalls. Yet Ford has made its own headlines for safety defects. Last year, it recalled 1.3 million F-150 Super Duty pick-up trucks with faulty door latches last year. Consumers reported the doors were swinging open while the vehicles were in operation. It also issued smaller recalls fixing more door latches and to stop cars from overheating. The company had received 29 reports of engines overheating and catching fire in some vehicles with 1.6-liter GTDI engines.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston personal injury lawyers have investigated serious car and truck crashes caused in part by defective parts. We have over 100 years combined experience representing individuals injured by car crashes, truck accidents and other traffic collisions in Boston and throughout Massachusetts. Many of our car accident and other personal injury cases involve product liability claims and investigation into dangerous and defective products.

Highlighted Cases
$3 Million Settlement in Tractor-Trailer Crash
Breakstone, White & Gluck negotiated a $3 million settlement for our client, who was hit by a tractor-trailer truck owned and operated by a beverage distributor. Read more about the case and the investigation of the truck.
$1.15 Million Settlement in Defective Fitness Equipment Injury
Breakstone, White & Gluck negotiated a $1.15 million settlement for our client who was seriously injured while using defective fitness equipment at a local gym. The trainer who was supervising our client was also negligent in a number of ways. Read more.

Contact Breakstone, White & Gluck
If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our Boston personal injury lawyers at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

20141027_airbagThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded the Takata airbag recall by 3.3 million vehicles. The question now is how many more recalls are ahead?

So many drivers have been impacted. To date, 34 million vehicles have been recalled, according to the NHTSA website. USA Today reports the airbags are now responsible for at least 20 deaths, while injuring 180 others. Millions of other drivers have had to wait out a slow replacement process.

The U.S. Department of Justice fined Takata $1 billion early last year. Because there are so many defective airbags, the NHTSA plans to issue phased recalls through December 31, 2019. Older vehicles and those in hot and humid states have received the highest priority. The schedule is designed to repair vehicles before the chemical in the inflator starts to break down.

Fidget spinner missing a piece in boy's hands

Fidget spinners have been one of the most popular gifts of 2017, but the small pieces can fall out and cause a child to choke.

By now, the children in your life have probably sent you their holiday toy wish lists. But just as important is the holiday “don’t buy” list.

W.A.T.C.H. released nominees for its “10 Worst Toys of 2017” list in mid-November, leading with Hallmark’s “Ittys Bitty” Baby Stacking Toy. This toy was recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in August. The fabric hats and bows on the Disney characters can detach and cause a young child to choke. This toy also has no safety warnings or age recommendations.

Toy 2: Tolo’s Tug Along Pony. This toy is marketed for children 12 months and older. It has a 19-inch cord, which is permitted for pull-along toys. But W.A.T.C.H. says this toy poses a strangulation hazard and does not carry any safety warnings.

Toy 3: The Wonder Woman Battle-Action Sword. This toy is recommended for children age 6 and up. Before you buy, note that the sword is large and sharp enough to cause facial or impact injuries. The packaging also gets a failing grade. It encourages children to “fight alongside men in a war to end all wars.”

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hoverboardWe saw the worst that can happen last week in Harrisburg, PA when a hoverboard caught on fire in a family’s home, claiming the life of a three-year-old child.

The hoverboard reportedly ignited while charging, destroying the home. The three-year-old girl died at a local hospital and two other girls were left in critical condition. The girl’s father and a teenage boy were treated for smoke inhalation.

This tragedy was compounded by another death; a local firefighter was reportedly killed in a motor vehicle accident while driving to the fire, the victim of an alleged drunk driver who now faces charges.

Britax stroller which was recalled in February 2017As Spring approaches, parents will be reaching for outdoor toys and children’s equipment. Baby strollers are one of the first products to come out.

Before you use a stroller, check for loose or worn parts. Then find out if the stroller has been subject to a product recall or caused injury. You can check online now on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Baby Stroller Recalls. We started with baby strollers because there have been several baby strollers recalled in the past year, including Britax, Aria Child and Phil & Teds strollers. Britax has actually issued two sets of recalls over the past 15 months, one for 60,000 strollers in January 2016 and another for more than 700,000 strollers in February 2017.