The dangers of allowing a child near open flames or hot liquids are widely understood. Though they rarely receive the same level of attention, the dangers of toxic chemicals in the household are just as severe. Chemical burns can cause life-long health problems for children, especially when they affect sensitive areas such as eyes or lungs.
Childhood chemical burns are nearly always preventable. If your child has suffered one of these painful injuries as a result of the negligence of a caregiver or a defective product, you may be entitled to compensation from those responsible. Contact child chemical burn personal injury lawyer Jeff Killino at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.
Children are most likely to suffer severe chemical burns in the home. The leading causes of these painful injuries are faulty product packaging and inadequate supervision. Sudden explosions of electrical or heating products can also cause children to be splashed with dangerous chemicals. According to an article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), some chemical and other burns are even caused by child abuse.
Parents need to make sure that all potentially dangerous products are correctly stored in clearly marked containers at the recommended temperatures. Common products widely associated with childhood chemical burns include:
- Drain cleaners
- Oven cleaners
- Battery acid
- Motor vehicle fluids, such as windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze
- Bleach (particularly when mixed with ammonia)
- Wet cement
Chemical Burn Consequences
All chemical burns require immediate medical attention. A severe chemical burn can have tragic consequences for an innocent child, including:
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Vision impairment or even the loss of an eye
- The spread of dangerous infections
Legal Liability for Children’s Chemical Burns
Children’s chemical burns may be caused by someone’s negligence, by a defective or unreasonably dangerous product, or by an intentional act. Depending upon the circumstances, more than one individual or entity may be held liable for a child’s resulting injuries.
If your child’s chemical burn was caused by a defective product, the manufacturer and anyone in the chain of the product’s distribution may be held liable for your child’s injuries in a product-liability action. Product-liability actions related to products that cause chemical burns when touched by a child are often brought as failure to warn or defective packaging cases.
- Defective Packaging
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled products due to defective packaging. If the ability to cause chemical burns is part of the nature of a product, it may be rendered unreasonably dangerous if its packaging is insufficient to keep children from gaining access to it. A container of drain opener that is easy to open by even the smallest child, for instance, may be held to be a defective product due to its defective packaging and result in liability in a product liability action on the part of the manufacturer and anyone in the chain of the product’s distribution.
- Failure to Warn
A product that has the ability to cause chemical burns may also be found defective in a product liability action as a result of the manufacturer’s or seller’s failure to warn of the product’s chemical-burn hazards. A defect may also be found to exist in such a product if adequate instructions for the product’s safe use have not been provided to the consumer.
If a child’s caregiver or supervisor negligently allows a child access to a product known to or reasonably knowable to the caregiver or supervisor to cause chemical burns, the caregiver or supervisor may be held liable for the child’s resultant injuries in an action for negligence.
The liability of such a caregiver or supervisor will depend upon the existence of a duty of care owed by the caregiver or supervisor to the particular child. Such a duty will generally be found to exist, for example, if the defendant is a babysitter, daycare center employee, teacher, or coach in whose care the child has been left.
- Liability of Daycare Center or School for Negligence of Its Employees
A daycare center, school, or other employer of a child’s supervisor may be held vicariously liable for the negligence of its employee under certain circumstances. Thus, vicarious liability may be attributed to an employer of a supervisor whose negligence was a cause of a child’s chemical-burn injury despite the absence of negligence on the part of the employer itself. In some cases, however, a public school or other public employer may be given complete or partial immunity from such liability pursuant to state statutory law.
An employer of a child’s supervisor may also be found directly rather than vicariously liable for a child’s chemical-burn injury that resulted from an employee’s negligence if the employer was negligent in the hiring, training, or retention of the negligent supervisor.
Child chemical burn lawyer Jeff Killino is an aggressive advocate for the rights of children who have suffered injuries due to the negligence of others. If your child has suffered a chemical burn injury due to the negligence of a caregiver or a defective product, contact attorney Killino at 877-875-2927 for experienced and dedicated assistance with your case.