Families in California and all across the country are encouraged to examine potentially dangerous toys and items in their home. Unfortunately, children can fall victim to unsafe or defective products years after the items have been recalled. For example, a brother and sister in Massachusetts, ages seven and eight respectively, tragically died this week when they became trapped in a Lane Furniture chest made in 1939. The cedar chests, manufactured between 1912 and 1987, were the subject of a 1996 recall. Twelve million chests had to be recalled due to a feature that automatically latched lids shut, causing six children to suffocate and die. In 2000, the Consumer Product Safety Commission with help from Lane Furniture conducted a renewed search for the chests after it was reported that another child had suffocated and two more had nearly died.
A spokesperson for the CPSC stated that parents and grandparents need to be aware that there was a recall in the past and that homes need to be checked for such items that are dangerous to children but are rarely thrown or given away. He stated that the main reason people do not comply with recalls is that they're simply not aware of them. It's also possible that parents forget to take action after hearing about a recall, or they simply cannot comply due to financial factors.
The spokesperson went on to say that the companies responsible for manufacturing unsafe products still must bear the burden of keeping the public informed, regardless of how much time has passed since a recall. Campaigns and outreach efforts must continue to spread the word on dangerous items, especially if they're products that could potentially be considered heirlooms, such as cribs, bassinets or jewelry. California residents whose children have suffered injuries or death might still be able to file for damages in court, even if the product was found to be dangerous years ago. A qualified attorney can help people in these situations decide if they have a legitimate case.
Source: nbcnews.com, "Child deaths are tragic reminder that products pose risk long after recall" Lisa A. Flam, Jan. 16, 2014