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Bed Designed to Protect Special-Needs Children Claimed to be Killing Them Instead

Jan 30, 2006 | Newsinferno News Staff The News Journal (Delaware), at, reports that a number of federal and state wrongful death lawsuits have now been brought against the now defunct Vail Products Inc. of Ohio claiming the company’s enclosed “Vail bed,” that was supposedly designed to protect special needs children, has killed at least five of those very children.

The children, who were challenged in ways (i.e., cerebral palsy) that made sleeping in a traditional bed dangerous, were though to be safe in these specially designed beds because they prevented the children from falling out of bed or otherwise injuring themselves while they slept.

Unfortunately, it appears that in a number of cases, children slipped between the mattress and the protective railing, became trapped in the side netting , where they suffocated and died.

The beds had been advertised in Exceptional Parent magazine and were also recommended by special-needs schools.

Following the commencement of one family’s lawsuit in February 2005, federal authorities raided Vail’s company headquarters seizing display beds and documents. The FDA issued a warning that the beds posed a “significant health risk” and advising that consumers stop using them immediately.

After also being accused of violating federal regulations, the company announced it was going out of business in June 2005.

At least two of the families said they never received the warning letter the FDA ordered Vail to mail customers in April 2003. One family received the letter in May 2005, after their child had died.

It appears that at least three of the death cases have been settled; two for “undisclosed” amounts, and one in Texas for $1.25 million in September 2004.   

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