Parents and caregivers of babies, this one’s for you!
We know you’re probably exhausted—that’s life with a little one. But this is worth paying attention to. Unfortunately, you might have to wait a little longer for a few moments of quiet (or a shower or a meal) if you rely on a RockaRoo infant swing or rocker to lull your babe into a few moments of peace or a nap.
As much as you want those few moments of downtime, there is nothing more important than your baby’s safety. Sadly, manufacturer 4moms has recalled more than 2 million MamaRoo and RockaRoo infant swings and rockers following the strangulation death of an infant.
How did the baby die while using the MamaRoo?
Interestingly, the baby died while not using the swing. According to the recall notice issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the restraint straps dangle below the seat when it’s not in use. A crawling baby who is not seated in the swing or rocker can become tangled in the straps, which can lead to strangulation.
4moms received two reports of entanglement incidents that happened to infants who were caught in the straps of an unoccupied MamaRoo swing because the babies crawled under the seat. One 10-month-old died from asphyxiation and the other 10-month-old suffered bruising to his neck but was saved when a caregiver discovered him.
What to do if you own a MamaRoo or RockaRoo infant swing or rocker
If you have a baby who crawls, you should immediately remove the swing or rocker and place it somewhere that the baby will not be crawling. You may contact 4moms to request a free strap fastener to prevent the straps from hanging beneath the swing when it is not in use.
You can reach 4moms at 877-870-7390 or [email protected], or visit its website.
Lawsuits for an injury from a defective baby item or other product
There’s a whole area of personal injury law that’s devoted to injuries that happen because of defective products.
You can file a product liability lawsuit if you (or your child) suffered an injury from a defective product, including children’s toys or baby items.
There are a few requirements:
- The product has to have caused your injury while you were using it properly or in a way that would be reasonably foreseeable to the manufacturer.
- The injury has to have cost you money.
Why does the injury need to cost money?
The premise of personal injury lawsuits is that they are to make the plaintiff (injured person) financially whole. In other words, you’re restored to the financial condition you would be in if the accident or injury hadn’t happened.
Therefore, if a toy breaks and your child gets a minor cut that’s healed with a kiss and a Band-Aid, there’s no lawsuit for their injury.
If your child falls from a piece of climbing equipment because it buckled under their weight—even though their weight was within the specifications of the toy—and your child requires several surgeries for their treatment, then the costs of their surgeries, hospital stays and related expenses would be recoverable damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Likewise, if the worst-case scenario happens and a child dies due to a defective product, you can file a defective product lawsuit for their wrongful death.
Three types of product defects
There are three ways a product can be defective:
- Manufacturing defect. This is when something goes wrong in the process of building or constructing the item. In other words, a part is broken or the materials are deficient in some way—it happens when the item would be safe and work correctly when manufactured according to its specifications but it was not manufactured properly.
- Design defect. It seems as though the issue with the MamaRoo swings is a design defect. The recalled items were manufactured according to how they were designed but the design didn’t account for crawling babies underneath. The item was approved as safe for a baby using it as intended (as a swing or rocker), but the manufacturers should have foreseen that a home that uses this product would likely have crawling babies who could be around the swings when they are not being used.
- Failure to warn. Some products are safe when used properly but there are dangers when certain precautions aren’t taken. That can be unavoidable, so it is the manufacturer’s responsibility to include warnings so that the product can be used safely. For example, baby “bucket” car seats usually come with warnings that it’s unsafe to prop them in grocery cart seats, but some people do it anyway. If a baby falls from the cart while in a bucket and is injured, the manufacturer would not be liable if the seat came with a warning that it was not to be used that way.
If you or your child is injured and you believe you might have grounds for a lawsuit, here’s what you can do:
- Get medical treatment. Certainly, your first priority is getting the injured person the medical care they need. Let your treating provider know how the injury happened so they can note it in your chart.
- Do not modify or alter the product in any way. Make sure that the item remains in the same condition as when the injury occurred. If you try to fix it or change it, you might not be able to prove how it caused your injury.
- Take photos and preserve the product so it can be evidence of your injury and how it happened.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer who handles product liability cases. The legal system can be overwhelming but you deserve to be compensated for your losses. If you’ve been injured, contact a lawyer today who can help guide and advise you through the process.