As nationwide product recalls increase, delays in notifying the public of potential hazards raise the risk of preventable injuries and deaths. An investigation conducted by Angie Moreschi examined the dangers of delaying product recalls and the reasons behind these frequent delays.
Teddy was just 22 months old, a bright and joyful child when tragedy struck. An Ikea Malm dresser toppled over and crushed him. Instead of celebrating his second birthday, his mother had to tragically plan her son’s funeral. On Valentine’s Day 2016, after returning home from church, Teddy was put down for a nap. When Janet checked on him later, she found the dresser had fallen, with Teddy trapped underneath. Despite being rushed to the emergency room, Teddy did not survive. Now an advocate for product safety, Janet shares her story in the hope of inspiring change. Ikea eventually recalled 29 million Malm and other dressers, but not before seven documented deaths occurred prior to the recall.
A recent study by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) highlights the dangers of recall delays. In the past year, nearly 300 product recalls were issued, with 22% of those products involved in 650 injuries and six deaths before the recalls were announced.
The PIRG report cites multiple instances of recall delays, including Samsung washing machines, Horizon Fitness treadmills, and Fitbit Smartwatches.
Peloton’s Tread+ treadmill is another notable example. Despite disturbing videos of children being pulled under the treadmill and resulting in serious injuries, no recall was issued until a child’s death prompted Peloton to apologize and issue recalls on their Tread and Tread+ machines.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for protecting consumers from dangerous products, but a “flawed law” hinders the agency from issuing warnings and recalls. Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act requires the CPSC to provide manufacturers with 15 days’ notice before disclosing negative information about a product. This often leads to negotiations between companies and regulators to avoid lawsuits blocking the disclosure.
In 2015, the CPSC negotiated with Ikea regarding the Malm dresser, but instead of issuing a recall, Ikea announced a repair kit to secure dressers to walls. The CPSC released a public service announcement warning of tip-overs one month before Teddy’s death, but previous Ikea-related fatalities were not publicized.
Since then, Ikea has collaborated with McGee and other parents on safety issues and has played a crucial role in passing The Sturdy Act to protect children from falling furniture. However, the PIRG report reveals that recall delays persist, putting consumers at risk.
Efforts are underway to repeal Section 6(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act, which many consider a “gag rule” on the CPSC. The new head of the agency has expressed a willingness to be more aggressive in warning consumers about dangerous products. In their next report, Spotlight on America will speak exclusively with the Chair of the CPSC and lawmakers working to repeal Section 6(b).
Were you or a loved one harmed by a defective or dangerous product? You may be entitled to compensation. The best course of action is to consult an experienced attorney specializing in product liability law. They can provide guidance on the specifics of your situation and help determine if you have a valid claim and what legal options are available to you.
Parker Waichman LLP is here to help you or your loved one understand the claims process and the legal options available. As a national personal injury and wrongful death law firm, we have the experience and resources to advocate on your behalf.
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