Some of the Most Harmless-looking Products Can Pose Serious Dangers to Children

Concerned parents do their best to make careful choices when purchasing products their children may use or be exposed to, from toys to laundry detergent to furniture and appliances. The hazards presented by many products are obvious to us all—medications with easily removed caps, heavy TVs placed on wobbly television stands, kitchen utensils with sharp edges or protuberances. But, others appear altogether harmless to even the most discerning parents. Bean-bag chairs—those comfy, soft, pliable chairs that children love to play in and that we, as parents, very reasonably assume cannot hurt them—are a prime example.

In August 2014, Ace Bayou Corp recalled 2.2 million beanbag chairs after two children suffocated to death while playing in the chairs. In violation of voluntary industry standards, the chairs contained two zippers that could easily be opened by even very young children. Once the zippers were opened, a child could crawl into a chair’s interior, become trapped and suffocate, or choke on the chair’s foam beads. Even older children can be harmed or killed by these chairs. The two children whose deaths precipitated the Ace Bayou recall were aged 3 and 13.

More recently, another manufacturer has issued a recall of bean-bag chairs for the very same hazard. On December 19, 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the recall by Comfort Research, LLC, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, of approximately 125,000 of its Comfort Research Bean Bag Chairs manufactured in the U.S. and China. Though no injuries or deaths have been reported to have been caused by Comfort Research chairs, the hazards of these chairs were revealed by the deaths caused by the Ace Bayou chairs, which were constructed, in relevant respects, in the same manner. The Comfort Research chairs, as do the Ace Bayou chairs, contain a zipper on the exterior cover that can be opened by children, allowing them to crawl inside and face the risk of suffocation, or choking on a chair’s foam beads. (The Ace Bayou chairs contain two zippers, while the Comfort Research Chairs contain only one, but the hazard is present in both types of chairs.) The chairs came in black, hot pink, lime green, purple, royal blue, ruby red, and baseball, football, or soccer patterns, are filled with polystyrene, and were sold between January 2010 and October 2013 at Burlington Coat Factory, Kroger, Meijer, and other brick-and-mortar retail stores across the nation, and online at Amazon, Bean Bag Company, Groupon, Kohls, Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, Wayfair and other online retailers. Consumers are instructed to immediately take the recalled chairs away from children and to contact Comfort Research for instructions to permanently disable the chairs’ zippers.

Products designed or made in a defective manner, or without adequate warnings or instructions, can cause serious injury or death to children. Product manufacturers, sellers, and others may be held liable for these injuries and deaths through legal action brought by a product-liability or defective-products attorney. If your child has been injured or killed by a bean-bag chair or other product, do not return or alter the product in any way before seeking legal representation. To provide evidence of causation and liability, your child-accident lawyer will want to have the product tested in the condition it was in when your child was injured. Child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino has extensive experience with child-injury and wrongful-death cases, including those arising out of injuries and deaths caused by defective and dangerous toys or other products. Contact attorney Killino and his nationally recognized team of child-accident lawyers to obtain justice from those responsible for your child’s defective-products injury or death.

Legal Responsibility for Children’s Injuries and Deaths Caused by Defective and Dangerous Products

Manufacturers and sellers have a duty under the law to market and sell products that are not unreasonably dangerous to children or other consumers. Even products that are not specifically designed for children’s use should be made so as not to present unreasonable dangers to children who may use or be exposed to them. Product-liability law provides a vehicle for holding certain parties responsible for injuries and deaths determined to have been caused by products with certain types of defects (i.e., which are determined to be “unreasonably dangerous” according to product-liability law).

Defects that may result in such liability include defects in a product’s design, defects in the manufacture of a product, or defects that occur as a result of the failure to include adequate warnings and instructions with a product. Design defects, in simple terms, are dangers caused by the manner in which a product was designed to be made.

Bean-bag chairs designed with zippers that can be opened by children may be found to be defective in design under most states’ product-liability laws. These chairs could have been designed without zippers, thereby eliminating the suffocation and choking hazards present in the Ace Bayou and Comfort Research chairs. Though manufacturers often argue that alternative designs that may have been safer were too costly to employ, this argument is unlikely to succeed with respect to zipper-outfitted bean-bag chairs, as bean-bag chairs made without zippers would be less costly than those made with zippers. The parties who may be held strictly liable (without proof of negligence) for injuries and deaths caused by this design defect include the chairs’ designers, manufacturers, assemblers, parts suppliers and manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers.

Obtain Legal Assistance from Child-injury Attorney Jeffrey Killino

Child-injury attorney Jeffrey Killino and his team of child-injury and wrongful-death lawyers and paralegals have obtained national recognition for their dedication to holding all those responsible for children’s preventable injuries and deaths accountable through legal action. If your child has been injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, other negligence, or a defective and dangerous toy or other product, our child-injury team can help you obtain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled for your child’s injury or death