Birmingham Legal Blog

Homestar brand dressers recalled due to tip-over risk

Over the last few years, furniture such as dressers and bookshelves have been recalled because they can tip over unless secured to a wall. This can result in a tragic accident, especially if children are in the home. These large, heavy pieces of furniture can crush or suffocate a child if they tip over. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for children to climb on dressers and bookshelves.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a person is injured every 20 minutes or so, and a child is killed every two weeks, from furniture or appliances falling onto them. Since 2000, tipping dressers have killed at least 212 people -- mostly kids six and younger.

Do your loved one a favor and don’t visit their nursing home

"Older folks don't have the reserve to handle illnesses," explains the president of the American Board of Internal Medicine, where he is a geriatrician. "They really are fragile, and their clinical status can change very quickly."

As the country begins to deal with the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, some of the hardest hit are those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

What really works to prevent COVID-19?

You may have noticed people wearing surgical masks or respirators in order to prevent COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. If so, you should know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, face masks are not an effective method for preventing the illness.

That’s right. Wearing surgical masks may help keep sick people from spreading the illness, but it won’t keep healthy people from getting COVID-19. Nor will N95 respirators, which filter out 95% of airborne particles. Nor will reusable dust masks.

Toyota and Lexus recall new cars and SUVs for engine replacement

Faulty manufacturing of the engine block has led Toyota and Lexus to recall over 44,000 cars and SUVs. The problem could allow oil or coolant to leak. This could cause the engine to stall or a fire could start while the vehicle is in use.

Warning signs could include warning lights and chimes, increased engine noise and even smoke emanating from the engine.

Evenflo’s ‘Big Kid’ car booster seats found dangerously defective

When Evenflo tested its “Big Kid” car booster seat for side impacts, its own tests found that children -- especially those under 40 pounds -- could be in grave danger. When exposed to a simulated T-bone collision, the child-size test dummies were thrown far out of their shoulder belts. If they had been real kids, they would have suffered catastrophic head, neck and spinal cord trauma or perhaps died.

Yet Evenflo gave the booster seat passing grades. It advertised on its website, according to ProPublica, that the seats were rigorously tested for side-impacts. In reality, the only way to fail the test was for the dummy to end up broken on the floor.

Was your child injured at a trampoline park or gym?

Trampolines are increasingly popular in Alabama and across the nation. People can rent them for parties and celebrations of all types, and trampoline park and gyms rent time on the devices.

But while injuries from home-based trampolines have been dropping off, a recent study found that the overall number of trampoline injuries have risen. Researchers attribute this to the increase in popularity of commercial trampolines. The study was presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2019 National Conference and Exhibition.

Older vehicles recalled for new airbag issue

About 20,000 Mitsubishi Montero SUVs and another 138,000 Toyota vehicles are being recalled due to a dangerous new airbag issue. All of the vehicles have airbags from Takata, the now-defunct manufacturer of previously recalled airbags that were used throughout the automotive industry.

The problem is that the inflator may not have been properly sealed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This could cause either of two dangerous conditions by allowing moisture to enter the airbag components.

CPSC warns consumers against another inclined infant sleeper

The SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper by Sumr Brands poses a suffocation risk to infants, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). However, Sumr has refused the agency’s call to issue a recall. The agency would have to take the company to court in order to force its compliance.

This particular sleeper was discontinued in 2018. Unfortunately, the product is still available for sale, both at retailers and on the secondary market. A spokesperson for the brand told Consumer Reports that the company has received no reports of injuries and that the sleeper “has significant design differences from other inclined sleepers.”

Study: More needs to be done to improve e-scooter safety

Now that electric scooters are on their way back to Birmingham, it's important to understand that you could be injured while using one. Reports have come in of e-scooters that are broken or defective. Incidents have occurred where e-scooter riders have been struck by other vehicles. Just how safe are dockless electronic scooters?

It hardly seems like you could get seriously injured riding an e-scooter around town. The electronic version of a kick-scooter is small, light and close to the ground. The vehicles go a maximum of about 50 mph, but most people don't go much faster than 15 or 20 mph.

$46 million payment should send a strong message to manufacturers

All too often, manufacturers and retailers let dangerous, defective products into the stream of commerce. This puts the lives and health of consumers at risk.

Sometimes, these products are recalled, but recalls take time and effort. Not every defective product will be returned. Some consumers won’t know about the recall and will continue to use the product. Sometimes, these recalled products even enter the secondary market for used goods.

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