Unbeknownst to many of us, most homes are filled with a large number of dangerous and toxic chemicals that may cause serious injury or death if ingested or inhaled. Many home-cleaning products contain hazardous substances that most adults know to avoid, but that children may taste or play with out of natural curiosity. As a result, children risk suffering chemical burns, loss of vision, non-fatal poisoning, or death. Manufacturers bear the responsibility of ensuring that toxic products are properly labeled, while children’s adult supervisors bear the responsibility of keeping these products out of a child’s reach.
If your child has been injured by bleach or another dangerous household cleaner, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible. Child bleach-and-household-cleaner injury lawyer Jeff Killino can help you obtain justice for the injuries your child has suffered. Call The Killino Firm today at 877-875-2927 to discuss your circumstances with an experienced and compassionate attorney.
The Dangers of Household Cleaners
Most household cleaners use toxic substances to give them the properties necessary to eliminate dirt and bacteria. The following products are generally considered dangerous:
- Air fresheners
- Drain cleaner
- Furniture polish
- Paints and paint thinner
- Toilet-bowl cleaners
- Window-cleaning products
- Wood stains and varnishes
Parents and supervisors should keep these products well out of reach of small children. Though such items often have child-safe tops, the child-proofing aspect of these tops may malfunction, necessitating the additional measure of preventing a child’s access in the first instance.
The Responsibilities of Manufacturers and Supervisors
Both manufacturing companies and child supervisors have a responsibility to protect children from the dangers of toxic home products. Manufacturers should properly label and package their products so that parents are aware of their dangers and so that children cannot open the bottles when they are sealed. Supervisors must safeguard children from these hazardous substances through proper care and storage.
Legal Liability for Children’s Injuries Caused by Bleach and Other Household Products
Federal regulation of household cleaners is stringent, as the law of product liability was determined to provide an insufficient deterrent to manufacturer’s inadequate labeling and packaging of such products. Protective federal legislation included the Federal Hazardous Substances Labeling Act of 1960 and the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1972, both of which were intended to reduce the incidence of poisoning among children by common household products.
Proof of violation of federal standards, while not necessary to the success of a product-liability action against a manufacturer of household products, may strengthen a plaintiff’s case for causation and manufacturer liability. A product recall may strengthen a plaintiff’s case, as well. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled many unreasonably dangerous products for inadequate labeling or instructions.
Liability for Injuries Caused by Inherently Dangerous Products
Generally, product-liability actions are brought by plaintiffs who have suffered an injury that was caused by a defect in a product’s design or manufacture. When a product is among those categorized as inherently dangerous—as poisonous household cleaners are—the manufacturer of the product owes a duty to the consumer to clearly and conspicuously warn of the product’s dangers and to provide clear and adequate instructions for the products safe and proper use. In other words, a product that has been properly manufactured and designed may still be inherently dangerous, even when used as intended, making such warnings and instructions crucial to their reasonably safe use.
If a product is dangerous not only if ingested but also if inhaled, these warnings and instructions must include those regarding the use of masks and other care required to avoid inhalation. If a product poses a hazard of injury to a user’s eyes, instructions and warnings regarding the use of goggles should be supplied.
Product-liability actions for inherently dangerous products take into account the fact that the dangers of such products are not generally known or understood by the average consumer—and certainly not by their children. An assumption is also made that even an adult user will need special instructions for their safe and proper use, as well as for the caution required to keep such products from injuring children within their care.
Strict Liability Actions
Though product-liability actions may be brought as negligence, breach of warranty, or strict liability actions, those brought to recover for injuries caused by inherently dangerous household products are usually brought as strict liability actions, which require no showing of negligence on the part of a manufacturer or other defendant in the product’s chain of distribution. Such actions may assert marketing defects rather than defects in the product’s manufacture or design.
A marketing defect may include inadequate warnings or instructions to make a product safe for a consumer’s use. A manufacturer may also be found liable for failure to warn of an unintended but foreseeable misuse of a product by consumers, such as the mixing of certain cleaning substances to achieve what the user perceives will be a more effective cleaning result. In many cases, the mixing of cleaners has created toxic fumes that cause severe injury or death to the consumer who inhaled them.
Actions in Negligence against Children’s Supervisors
Even in cases where an inherently dangerous product contains adequate warnings and instructions regarding the products dangers and proper use, children may be injured if allowed access to the product by a negligent caregiver. If your child was injured by bleach or another household cleaner while in another’s care, the facility or individual responsible for negligently allowing your child to come in contact with the cleaner may be liable in damages for the injuries suffered by your child as a result.
If your child has suffered a household or toxic substances injury due to someone’s negligence or a manufacturer’s error, you may be entitled to legal damages from the party or parties responsible. Contact child bleach-and-household-cleaners injury lawyer Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 for expert advice regarding your legal options.