A study published in 2011 in the journal Pediatrics found an average of 113 crib-related deaths each year. They note that there was an average of 26 children injured each day in crib accidents. These are frightening and sobering statistics.
In the study, researchers commented about the alarmingly high rate of crib-related injuries and deaths in the United States: “This represents an unacceptable level of danger, highlighting the need for continued improvements in product design, especially to prevent falls from cribs, to protect young children.”
Causes of Crib Accidents
There are primarily two underlying causes of crib accidents: defective cribs and caregiver neglect. These causes can pan out in numerous ways and lead to a crib accident. Below are some the contributing factors in crib-related injuries and deaths.
- Poor crib design (e.g., children can fall out of cribs with sides too low – the government banned drop-side cribs – or get their a body part or their head stuck in between gaps between the slats)
- Loose or broken hardware on the crib
- Improper crib installation
- Poor quality or soft wood that allows the hardware to unexpectedly release
- Lead-based paint on the crib
- Using a crib for children past the recommended age for cribs
- Cribs with design cutouts on the headboard or footboard (Clothing or limbs can get stuck)
- Corner posts with knobs or other points that children’s clothing can get attached to, causing strangulation
- Malfunctioning mattress support hangers
- Gym cribs and mobiles that are improperly installed or used after the child turns five months
- Items placed in or near the crib that cause injury
- Shoddy or older cribs that collapse
Liability for Crib Accidents
There are several potential parties that may be responsible for a crib accident. Below are two possible defendants in crib-related injury and wrongful death claims.
- Caregivers – If a caregiver’s negligence contributed to the accident, he or she may be liable. If the accident occurred in a childcare facility, it’s generally the facility owner/operator that will be liable, not the worker. Examples of negligence include the caregiver placing pillows or dangerous toys in the crib, putting the child in a crib known to be broken or defective, or placing the child in a crib positioned next to a hazard, such as window blinds or candles.
- Manufacturers – Parents of children injured or killed in crib accidents often sue the manufacturers on the grounds of defective design or manufacturing errors. Crib manufacturers have a responsibility to adhere to certain national safety standards. When they fail to uphold their duties and your child is injured as a result, you can hold them accountable by filing a child injury or wrongful death claim with a product liability attorney.
Pursuing Damages after a Crib Accident
If your child was injured or killed in a crib accident and you are eligible to file a claim, you may be able to recover several types of damages, some of which are below.
- Medical bills, both current and future
- Emotional trauma
- The impact of your child’s injury on his/her (and your) life
- The lost relationship with your child
- Funeral expenses
In these types of cases, punitive damages may be applicable. Punitive damages are those that the court awards in order to punish the defendant and deter the harmful actions in the future. Your attorney can explain exactly what types of damages you may be able to collect and help you estimate the value of your claim.
Contacting an Attorney in Clarksburg
If your child was injured or killed in a crib accident in Clarksburg, we’d like to discuss your case with you to see if we can be of service. Contact one our attorneys today at the Miley Legal Group for a free consultation: 304-931-4088.