Consumer Product Dangers Often Preventable

Auto_Assembly_Line_iStock_000001422112XSmall1A great lesson and reminder of how we must take control of our own destiny and not depend upon product manufacturers or government agencies to do it for us is highlighted in the Chicago Tribune article concerning televisions that tip over and injure or kill children.

This has occurred frequently of late and it appears that this is a mostly preventable injury and danger.

Keep in mind that while most of us assume the products we buy are "safe," not every possible danger is made safe and not all dangers are worth the manufacturers spending oodles of money to make perfect.

Nor is it possible for government safety agencies to protect us from everything.

As a personal injury lawyer who files suits against manufacturers who make unsafe products, I like to think we all bear some responsibility for keeping ourselves and our families safe. We have to think about the "what ifs" and the possible worst case scenarios. Especially in the case of small children, we must foresee everything. Otherwise, how does one explain my childhood interest in lighting the garbage can on fire, jumping out of my treehouse, or seeing if I could fling a wrist shotted "pebble puck" into the corner of the kitchen windown without mom noticing. In my case, I guess curiosity is great as long as it doesn't get you killed, which, despite my best efforts, it did not!

So think about each household appliance and what could possibly happen.

The article points out how the new large televisions these days do not come equipped with rather simple straps to secure them to the wall. A child proofing expert mentions how easy it is to attach and secure these and how much safer we'd all be if every television was sold with these straps.

But they aren't!

Why not? Oh, I don't know, perhaps it would add to the cost of the item. Maybe they're concerned people would attach them improperly and blame them if someone still got hurt. It might even be the good old maxim "the business of business is business," which means "let them make money so let's regulate them as little as possible."

That's right'; government safety standards are not the gold standards you presume they are. In fact, government safety standards are negotiated with heavy influence from the very industries they are designed to regulate. Think of government safety standards as penny ante minimums rather than gold standards of safety. In short, just because a product passes all government safety standards does not make it guaranteed to be completely safe and injury-free.

At the same time, we are thinking beings and we must be at least partially responsible for our own safe environments. It's not a "nanny state," as some argue we've become nor is it the Wild West. We should take charge, ask the right questions, and take the appropriate steps to ensure safety. Then, if something does go wrong, we have the legal system to hold people and entities responsible for when unsafe products cause injuries.

So that means that if you want to avoid injury, you have to do what you can make your enviroment safe.

At the very least, everyone should do the following:

1. Move dangerous items out of the reach of children.

2. Secure dangerous items if at all possible.

3. Lock things that can kill, such as guns, poisons, or hazardous materials.

4. Assume that anything too big, too out of the way, or too cumbersome WILL be climbed onto, yanked down, or toyed with by children, pets, or other household residents. Just because YOU wouldn't do this doesn't mean it isn't enticing to someone else.

Needless to say, in the worst case scenario, if some member of your family is injured, get them medical help immediately and then call a lawyer to see if there are options for pursuing the manufacturer, supplier, distributor, or retailor of the product.

Remember, just because a product is "safe enough" according to a government agency does NOT mean it is beyond reproach or perfect.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me!

Categories: General