What to Do if Your Baby is Injured in a Crib
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Stewart J. Eisenberg with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..
Crib and playpen injuries are unfortunately one of the leading causes of infant injury and wrongful death. Manufacturers of these and other infant products have a responsibility to make sure their designs meet all the requirements for basic infant safety, and to avoid repeating known common defects. If your baby was injured in a defective crib, playpen, or by another infant product, talk to a product liability attorney about your options for recovery.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), drop-side cribs are particularly hazardous.
In fact, these cribs are considered so hazardous that they have effectively been banned. However, this has not stopped crib manufacturers from continuing to create and market cribs in this style. The main problems with drop-side cribs occur either when the hardware breaks or otherwise deforms, causing that side of the crib to detach at one or more corners. The other problem with these cribs is the risk associated with the space between the mattress and the drop side; an infant or toddler can easily roll into this space and find themselves entrapped and at risk of suffocation.
Many cribs have been recalled unbeknownst to the parents who continue to use them.
It’s important to check for any active recalls or defect warnings before purchasing or accepting a crib, new or secondhand. If you are having a second child and intend on using the same crib you used with the first child, remember to make a quick search to ascertain whether or not that crib model has been recalled or carries any new warnings. Improperly spaced slats, poor mattress design, toxic materials, and unstable design putting the crib or playpen at risk of collapse are all hazards that can pose serious risks to the health and safety of infants and toddlers.
If your infant or toddler was injured in a crib or playpen, take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical care for your child. It is particularly important to seek medical care when an injury might have occurred to an infant or toddler. These children are generally too young to effectively communicate their injuries, and they may not exhibit feelings of pain the same way an older child or adult would. It is imperative to have your child seen by a trusted medical professional if you know or suspect they may have suffered any injury after a crib or playpen accident. This also ensures that an official record exists to document the incident and record your child’s injury if you choose to pursue litigation down the road.
- Take pictures of the product that caused the injury. If possible, do not touch the product after it causes the injury. Whatever state the crib or playpen was in when it caused the injury should be preserved if possible. However, it’s important to take pictures of the product regardless. Photograph the product from multiple angles and make sure to take close-ups of any parts of the product which may have broken off or otherwise look obviously defective.
- Do not throw away the crib. It’s important to maintain possession of the defective product so that it can be assessed by product defect experts. If you have already turned the product into the CPSC, you can ask to have it returned to you. Similarly, it’s important to locate any packaging and instructional material that might have come with the product when it was bought or given to you. This material plays an important role in establishing what kind of defect if any may be associated with the product.
- Talk to an attorney. Product liability cases are notoriously difficult; it requires the analysis of experts in product design and manufacturing to break down the make up of a crib or playpen and establish if the manufacturer violated basic design rules or cut any safety corners. There are several reasons it’s a good idea to talk to a product liability attorney; not only do they have access to these industry experts, but they may be able to connect you with others who have suffered from the same defect. If money is a concern, it may help to note that these attorneys generally offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t have to pay unless they are able to make a recovery for you and your child.
To learn more about your options after your baby has suffered an injury from a crib or playpen, or for help filing a claim, talk to a product liability attorney.