Over 100 children under the age of five pass away each year due to injuries sustained from suffocation. Suffocation accidents are remarkably common because of the varied and unexpected number of common household objects that pose a threat to young and curious children. These numbers could be greatly reduced, however, through attentive and responsible childcare.
If your child has been injured because a negligent adult left hazardous items within your child’s reach or failed to provide adequate supervision, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible party. Child suffocation lawyer Jeffrey Killino understands the pain you are going through and will fight for your right to damages. Call him today at 877-875-2927 to schedule a no-cost evaluation of your case.
Suffocation Dangers around the House
Suffocation may be caused by a number of at-home factors. Any of the following items, when left within a child’s reach, may be manipulated by a naturally curious young child and pose a serious threat:
- Uncovered plastic, such as that used on furniture items like couches or beds
- Plastic bags
- Window cords
- Talcum powder
- Cots or folding furniture bars
- Ill-fitting crib pads
- Large and fluffy pillows
When not properly supervised, a child may become entangled with one of these hazardous objects and run the risk of injury or death by suffocation.
Children are curious little creatures who enjoy feeling, smelling, and tasting items in order to learn more about them. When children put small objects into their mouths, the items may become trapped in the child’s airway and cause the child to choke and risk suffocation if the item is not quickly removed. Common choking threats that may be in your home and could lead to a suffocation injury include the following:
- Small foods, such as hard candy, stringy chicken, nuts, or raw fruits and vegetables
- Small toys or toys with small, removable parts
- Small objects like coins, needles, buttons, beads, or marbles
- Packaging waste
If your child has been or will be under the supervision of a babysitter, daycare center, or nanny, these supervisors should be cautioned to keep such items out of your child’s reach. Their failure to do so may constitute actionable negligence and render them liable for damages resulting from your child’s injury. If your child’s injury was caused by a defective product, the manufacturer of that product may be liable for the injuries sustained.
Legal Liability for Child Suffocation Injuries
Suffocation accidents leading to serious injury or death may occur from a child’s use of or access to many common household objects, many of which are specifically designed and intended for a child’s use.
Defective Products and Product-liability Actions
Products Designed for Use by Infants or Children
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regularly recalls products designed for use by infants or children due to known or suspected defects. Cribs, for example, are often recalled for defects that have been reported to cause suffocation injuries. Suffocation may occur when infants are caught between a crib mattress and the side of a crib. If this occurs because of a defect and consequent failure of crib hardware or mattress fastenings, a product-liability action may be brought against the manufacturer and anyone in the chain of the product’s distribution to recover damages incurred as a result of your child’s injury.
Children have also suffocated as a result of defective baby slings when the design of the sling allows an infant’s face to become pushed too tightly against the parent’s chest. A product-liability action related to such a product may allege a defect in manufacture or design. A defect due to failure to warn may also be alleged if clear warnings and instructions regarding placement of an infant in a baby sling could have prevented a suffocation injury.
Infant cushions have also been reported to cause suffocation injuries. A product-liability action for injuries caused by such a product may allege a defect in design, as the cushion’s size and other physical characteristics were intended by the manufacturer but created the hazard that led to infant’s suffocation injuries.
Mesh-sided playpens have also been reported to cause suffocation injuries when a defect in the product causes a side to collapse, thereby allowing a child to become trapped among the mesh and suffocate as a result.
Products not Specifically Intended for Use by Children
Even if a product has not been specifically designed for use by children or infants, if such use is reasonably foreseeable and leads to a child’s suffocation injury, the manufacturer and anyone else in the chain of the product’s distribution may be held liable for the child’s injuries in a product-liability action. Air-mattresses, for example, have caused suffocation injuries, including deaths, in children who were placed face-down on the mattress. If the manufacturer failed to include a warning of such a suffocation hazard on the product, a product-liability action could be brought against the manufacturer as a failure-to-warn claim.
Children may also suffocate from playing with household items that do not contain any sort of actionable defect. In these cases, a suffocation injury often occurs as a result of someone’s negligence.
Negligence occurs when someone who has a duty to take reasonable care for the safety of another breaches that duty and causes an injury or injuries compensable under the law. Babysitters and other childcare personnel have a duty to take the same level of care that an ordinarily prudent adult would take under the same or similar circumstances. Breaches of a child caregiver’s duty of care often results in suffocation injuries.
Common Instances of Caregiver Negligence Resulting in Suffocation
Infants have suffocated, for instance, when allowed to eat or drink unattended. Even a bottle of milk may cause a child to choke and suffocate, so that leaving a child in a crib with a good-night bottle can be considered actionable negligence if the child is injured or dies as a result of choking and suffocating on the milk. Similar cases may be brought when a caregiver allows a child to eat without supervision.
Even when infants are supervised while eating or drinking, negligence can occur and lead to injury. Feeding a child while the child is lying on a flat surface rather than sitting straight in a chair or high-chair may lead to choking and resultant suffocation.
Leaving plastic bags within reach of an infant or small child may also be seen to constitute negligence in the care of a child, as children often suck on plastic and asphyxiate on it when it gets trapped in their throats.
Children may also die as a result of someone’s negligence when placed face down to sleep on a flat surface such as a crib or bed. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), reports that many infants die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when put in such a position on a flat surface, and advise parents and caregivers to place children on their backs to lessen the danger of such a death from occurring.
The unique circumstances leading to your child’s suffocation injury will need to be evaluated by an experienced attorney to determine the existence and level of responsibility, the identification of those responsible, and the damages to which you many be entitled.
If your child has suffered a suffocation injury due to someone’s negligent supervision or a defective product, you may be entitled to damages from those responsible. Contact child-suffocation injury lawyer Jeffrey Killino today at 877-875-2927 to learn more about your legal options.