The recent tragic deaths of two children are shocking reminders that many dangerous products remain in homes despite being recalled for their danger to kids. In January, two children, ages seven and eight, were playing together and became locked inside a hope chest. The children eventually suffocated and were found together hours later.
The chest did not open from the inside; only a latch on the outside allowed the top to open.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission had recalled 12 million chests made by the company, Lane Furniture, for this very danger. However, the parents of the children killed did not know that the product was recalled. The company would have given the parents a free repair kit to remove the lock or taken the chest away had the parents realized the danger.
A lack of information is the most common reason why people do not comply with recalls. In fact, Nancy Cowles, executive director of Kids in Danger, told NBC News that "at best" approximately one-third of products recalled are fixed or returned.
Long lasting products can equal lasting danger
Unlike some other children's products, hope chests tend to stay in families for a lengthy period. This can make it easy for a previously recalled item to remain accessible to children years after a product is recalled. The recall involving hope chests by Lane Furniture was one of the largest in the country. However, every year new products are recalled after the death or severe injury of a child.
Advocacy groups and government agencies do try to get the word out about unsafe products. SaferProducts.gov, for example, lists known dangers on its website and allows consumers to report unsafe products. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is the government agency responsible for recalling dangerous products. Drop-side cribs, roll-up window blinds, bassinets, play yards and jewelry containing lead have all been previously recalled.
It is against the law to resell a recalled consumer product, although many do so unknowingly. The hope chest that only recently killed two children was purchased at a yard sale years prior to the tragic accident.
According to the CPSC, death, injury and property damage from "unreasonably" dangerous products costs the nation over $1 trillion annually.
The most important goal of a recall is to prevent the further death or injury of another person. Unfortunately, a recall generally only occurs after the product has already proven deadly. For families of children injured by a dangerous product, such an event is devastating. Families who have suffered such a tragedy should contact an experienced personal injury attorney familiar with products liabilities lawsuits to potentially recover damages and bring to light the dangerous nature of the product responsible.