Possible Choking Hazard Leads to Pacifier Recall (and the Potential for Lawsuits)

Manufacturers releasing consumer products into the marketplace have a responsibility to ensure that their products are safe for their intended use. As our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg know, when it is discovered that products contain inherent risks which render them unreasonably dangerous, it is often the case that the product, or class of products, are subject to recall, either by the manufacturer acting on their own or by the government.

The part of the government which handles recalls is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Commission is responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products subject to the agency’s area of specialty.

Recently, the Commission announced the recall of certain pacifiers, LatchTM Lightweight Pacifiers and Clips, manufactured by Munchkin, Inc., because of the potential for a choking hazard It should be noted that this recall was voluntary, i.e., Munchkin voluntarily issued a recall on the pacifier because of reports of a choking hazard attendant to foreseeable use of the product. (The government has noted that there have been 10 received reports – 10 from the U.S. and 10 from Canada – of the clip cover detaching from the pacifier clip.)

According to the company’s own recall information site, the specific products being recalled are Latch Lightweight Pacifier & Clip sets sold between April 2014 and February 2016.  According to the government, the pacifier sets have been sold at retailers such as Babies R Us, Target, Wal-Mart, and other mass merchandisers, in addition to boutique baby and juvenile shops, discount stores, and online retailers such as Amazon and Munchkin.com itself. The pacifier sets sold for between $11 and $15.

The company suggests that consumers stop using the clip immediately and get in touch with Munchkin for a free replacement set (a safer set). Alternatively, as the company notes, those who are unsatisfied with a mere exchange will be able to receive a full refund upon receipt of the entire product set. (The government’s Product Safety Commission has, in their report of the recall, noted the remedies which are offered by the company.)

Both the company and the Product Safety Commission have stated that there have been no actual reports of injuries or deaths. Credit should be given where credit is due – it is commendable that the company is voluntarily issuing the recall without having had a single report of an injury or death due to the perceived potential for a choking hazard. That said, this voluntary recall notice does not absolve the company of any and all liability which might arise from the sale of this product.

As our personal injury lawyers at Aronberg & Aronberg know, unfortunately, not everyone will find out about this recall – in time or at all. While the company is warning people that they’ve determined that there exists a potential choking hazard inherent in their product, they could still be held liable under the theory of strict product liability for having sold a product with a defective design. Put another way: the fact that they are warning people/issuing a recall does not make them immune to product liability suits regarding the same danger.

If you or someone you know has been injured while using a consumer product, please contact our Delray Beach personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg by calling 561-266-9191 or by emailing us at daronberg@build.simple.biz. We look forward to assisting you!

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