Articles Posted in Injuries to Minors

Our Washington DC personal injury law firm represents children and adults injured in motor vehicle crashes. Unfortunately, DC school bus accidents can be a cause of serious injury to kids—especially because there is no law requiring that these large vehicles be outfitted with seat belts. This means that during a school bus collision, kids on a bus don’t have anything to keep them securely tethered to their seats. As a result, head injuries, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, and other debilitating injuries are more likely to occur during a crash.

The NHTSA has just turned down a petition calling for a federal law requiring that all school buses come with seat belts. The National Coalition for School Bus Safety and the Center for Auto Safety were the leaders of the petition.

According to the Washington Post, In the Federal Register NHTSA said it considered big school buses among some of the safest vehicles in the country. Their fatality rate is six times less than that of passenger cars. NHTSA also said that of the approximately 19 school kids who die annually in bus crashes, 14 are killed in school bus loading zones—compared to the five that die while on the bus. The federal agency argued that since fatalities in a school bus usually will have occurred because of impact with an object or another auto, seat belts would likely not prevent this. Cost, decrease in the number of passengers, and smaller fleets were also cited as a factor for why mandating seat belts on large school buses did not make sense.

School bus safety coalition member Arthur Yeager, however, noted that it was “hypocrisy” for NHTSA to push for seat belts in almost all other vehicles under their control but not for school buses. (Smaller school buses weighing less than 10K are required to have shoulder-lap belts for their seats.)

Regardless of whether or not a school bus is equipped with seat belts, depending on who caused the crash and the severity of your child’s injuries, you may have reason to seek damages from the school bus operator, the school, the bus manufacturer, the district, the motorist of another car that was involved, and/or the entity in charge of maintaining the road or traffic signals where the accident happened.

Feds reject request to require seat belts on school buses, Washington Post, August 25, 2011
NHTSA Turns Down Petition for Lap/Shoulder Belt Requirement on Large School Buses, School Transportation News, August 25, 2011
Related Web Resources:

Read the petition for rulemaking (PDF)

The Federal Register

Center for Auto Safety

National Coalition for School Bus Safety


More Blog Posts:

Preventing the Non-Crash Auto Deaths of Kids, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 26, 201
Tour Bus From Washington DC Involved in Deadly Crash May Have Been Derailed by Tire Blowout, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 18, 2011
Frederick County, School Bus Crash Involving Injuries Went Unreported, Say Maryland State Police, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 28, 2010

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While motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of child fatalities, our Washington DC personal injury lawyers want to warn you of other auto vehicle-related dangers that could put a kid at serious risk. Here are a few of these safety hazards, as identified by the National Highway Safety Administration:

Backover accidents: This usually involves a vehicle backing out of a driveway or parking lot and the driver not realizing that there is a child behind the auto. Backover accidents can prove fatal. Because the vehicle is being operated in reverse, the motorist must take extra precautions to check all viewing mirrors, footage from the backup camera, and perhaps even physically look back to make sure there is no one there.

Power windows: Power windows can entrap a young child’s hands, fingers, feet, neck, or head. It is important to make sure that power window switches have been locked. Otherwise, a child can accidentally activate the switch.

The father of a 5-year-old student at Sidwell Friends School has filed a $10 million Washington DC injury lawsuit against the school. Arthur G. Newmyer claims that the defendant was negligent for failing to properly supervise a staff psychologist that was counseling his daughter and who ended up having an affair with her mother. Newmyer claims that as a result of the affair becoming known, he and his daughter, who is a kindergartener at the school, suffered severe emotional distress. Newmyer and his wife are separated.

In his DC personal injury complaint, Newmyer says that the school board fired psychologist James F. “Jack” Huntington after he told them the latter was sending sexually explicit emails to his wife. Tara Newmyer says that she and Arthur Newmyer were separated by the time she and Huntington became involved.

Suing for Emotional Distress

The family of John Donald Rupp III, a DC Area teenager, is suing Phusion Projects, which manufactures the caffeinated alcoholic drink Four Loko, for his wrongful death. The 15-year-old died when a car hit him near his home last September. His family says that the collision happened after he drank Four Loko, which caused him to become disoriented.

In their wrongful death lawsuit, Rupp’s family accuses the drink maker of negligence and carelessness. They contend that Four Loko “desensitizes users to the symptoms of intoxication,” while upping the risk of injury related to alcohol.

The Food and Drunk Administration has warned that caffeine is not a safe food additive to mix with alcohol. Meantime, experts have said that drinks that have both alcohol and caffeine are associated with high-risk behavior. Weeks after Rupp’s passing, Phusion Project said it would take the stimulants, including caffeine, from its products.

Just two days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled approximately 1 million pool and hot tub drain covers because they could pose drowning and entrapment hazard to children and adults. Hundreds of thousands of pools and hot tubs, both private and public, may be affected. CPSC chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum is asking for public pools that have been using the recalled drain covers to temporarily shut down operation until the drain cover can be inspected, repaired, and/or replaced. However, she did also say that not all of the recalled drain covers will need to be changed or fixed.

The recall was announced because the CPSC found that many of the drain covers, which were supposed to meet the safety regulations that were implemented in 2008, were certified by labs that applied faulty standards. As a result, some of the drains have inaccurate flow ratings.

Our DC injury lawyers are familiar with the serious injuries that can result from pool drain covers that don’t meet the safety standards mandated by 2008 law. The vacuum effect of some drains can be so powerful that without the proper covering, a swimmer can get suctioned to a drain and drown. In 2007, one 6-year-old girl’s intestines were partially sucked out by a swimming pool drain. She had to have transplants of the small bowel, liver, and pancreas, and she eventually died.

The pool and hot tub drains included in the recall were made by a number of companies: A & A Manufacturing, Color Match, AquaStar Pool Products, Hayward Pool Products, Custom Molded Products, Rising Dragon USA, Pentair Water Pool and Spa.

Drain cover recall could close thousands of pools, USA Today, May 26, 2011
Drowning Risk Prompts Biggest Ever Recall Of Backyard Pool Drain Covers, ABC News, May 26, 2011
Eight Manufacturers Recall Pool and In-Ground Spa Drain Covers Due to Incorrect Ratings, CPSC, May 26, 2011
Related Web Resources:

Pool Safety

Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act


More Blog Posts:

CPSC Offers Tips to Prevent Washington DC Pool Drowning Accidents, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, May 4, 2011
Pool Drain Sucks Small Intestine From Six-Year-Old Girl; Maryland Residents Push For Tougher Pool Safety Laws, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 9, 2007

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According to a new study by UC Davis Health System, not all children who sustain minor blunt head trauma need to undergo CT scans. Yet, about half of those who do end up in hospital ERs for this type of injury get a head computed tomography scan. More about the study can be found in the June 2011 issue of Pediatrics.

Our Washington DC personal injury law firm represents children and adults who suffered unnecessary injury or health complications because of medical negligence. If you believe that unnecessary exposure to radiation from a medical device, do not hesitate to contact us and ask for your free consultation.

Researchers evaluated 40,113 under age 18 who went to 1 of 25 emergency rooms between June 2004 and September 2006. 5,433 of the kids were observed before medical staff decided to give them a CT scan. What researchers found is that not only was CT use was lower in the children who were observed, but also this did not affect the quality of care that they received. 3,744 of these kids went home without a scan and only 26 of them came back to have one. Of these children, four had traumatic results and just one had a clinically important injury that required hospitalization for two nights.

The fact that not all children with a minor head injury needs to undergo a head scan to get treated properly is good news, seeing as exposure to radiation through CT scans does carry some health risks—especially for children. A single CT scan to a child’s brain provides a dose of radiation equal to about six months to a year of “background radiation.” Radiation can increase the chances of a child developing cancer later in life.

Obviously some head injuries are serious enough to warrant a CT scan, but it is also important that children not be exposed to radiation from this type of test unnecessarily. It might be a good idea to ask your child’s doctor whether there are other medical imaging tests that can be used that wouldn’t expose your son/daughter to radiation.

UC Davis study examines need for CT scans in children, The Sacramento Bee, May 10, 2011
Observation After Head Injury Cuts Kids’ CT Scans, WebMD, May 9, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Pediatrics

Radiology


More Blog Posts:

Botox May Get Rid of More than Wrinkles, Says New Study, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, April 23, 2011
US Lawmakers Seek to Reinstate Right to Sue Medical Device Makers for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death, Maryland Accident Law Blog, February 19, 2009
Walgreens Pharmacy Misfill Leaves Toddler With Dangerous Drug, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer, May 4, 2011

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With the swimming season fast approaching, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding parents and guardians to exercise caution so that tragic drowning accidents are avoided. Already, the CPSC says there have been 38 near-drowning and 37 drowning incidents in the US this year. The government agency, along with the Y and American Red Cross, are launching a Pool Safety campaign this year to reduce the amount of child drowning accidents in spas and swimming pools.

Considering that about 300 kids under the age of 5 drown annually and thousands of others are injured in near drowning accidents, employing the proper safety precautions will hopefully save lives. To help prevent Washington DC drowning accidents:
• Makes sure that there is a fence around the pool so that kids can’t get in when there isn’t an adult around
• Don’t allow children to swim unsupervised
• Make sure there is someone at the pool that knows how to perform CPR in the event of an emergency

A pool or spa owner can be held liable for Washington DC personal injury to a child if he/she did not make sure that the pool or hot tub is safe for swimmers. For example, if someone drowns at a public pool that should have (but didn’t) have a lifeguard on duty or because the wasn’t properly cleared of leaves and other debris so that it would be easy to spot someone in trouble at the bottom of the pool, the victim or his/her family may have grounds for a lawsuit.

Common causes of pool or spa drownings:
• No fence or pool cover
• Inadequate warning signs
• Lack of rescue equipment in the pool area
• Drain entrapment (Could be grounds for a DC products liability case)
• Inadequate pool maintenance
• No lifeguards
• Defective pool or spa equipment

Our Washington DC injury lawyers represent families throughout the DC area and Maryland.

Pool & Spa Safety Educational Video Transcript, Pool Safety.gov
75 Drownings and Near-Drownings in 15 Weeks, CPSC, April 21, 2011
Related Web Resources:
Unintentional Drownings, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Drowning Prevention Fact Sheet, Safe Kids USA

More Blog Posts:
Six-Year-Old Girl Dies in Washington DC Drowning Accident at Turkey Thicket Pool, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 12, 2010
In Maryland, Accidental Drowning Of Anne Arundel County 5-Year Old Renews Calls For Greater Pool Safety, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 13, 2006
Family of Baltimore County Woman that Drowned in Apartment Complex Pool Files $100 Million Wrongful Death Lawsuit, Maryland Accident Law Blog, August 15, 2008

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With spring well under way, more kids are making their way back outdoors and onto playgrounds. Unfortunately, playground accidents are a leading cause of injuries to children in the 5-14 age group. SafeKids USA reports about 150,000 playground injuries a year result in ER visits, with injuries ranging from cuts, bruises, and scrapes to traumatic brain injuries, fractures, broken bones, dislocations, amputations, and other serious injuries. Approximately 10 playground fatalities occur in the US annually. Washington DC playground accident injuries can occur in public parks, private backyards, residential areas, daycare centers, on school grounds, and other premises where playground equipment has been set up for kids to use.

Common Causes of DC Playground Accidents:
• Inadequate supervision
• Defective or deteriorating playground equipment and rides
• Poorly designed playgrounds
• Inadequate maintenance
• Rust or sharp edges on equipment
• Inadequate protective surfacing that doesn’t provide a proper cushion in case of a fall
• Not enough space between equipment
• Trip hazards
• Playground equipment that is inappropriate or too advanced for the kids that are likely to use them
• Elevated surfaces that lack guardrails

Playground operators must make sure that their premise and the equipment on it are safe for use and that all precautions have been taken to decrease the chances of a DC playground accident. It is also the responsibility of playground equipment manufacturers to make sure that their products are safe for us.

Examples of Common Playground Accidents
• Falls from slides or jungle gyms
• Trip and fall accidents
• Burn injuries from equipment made of metal that can get hot
• Falls from swings
Playground Injuries, CDC
Playground Safety, Safekids
More Blog Posts:
Six-Year-Old Girl Dies in Washington DC Drowning Accident at Turkey Thicket Pool, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, July 12, 2010
Baltimore’s Public Housing Authority Says It is “Not Possible” To Pay Judgments in Maryland Lead Poisoning Cases, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 11, 2011
Family of Girl Electrocuted at Druid Hill Park Softball Field Revisits Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against the City of Baltimore, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 12, 2010

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it is recalling nearly 800,000 child safety seats made by Dorel Juvenile Group. The recall, which affects infant, convertible, and booster seats, was issued because of concerns that the harnesses may not be able to keep children secure. Our Washington DC products liability law firm represents children injured because their child safety seat or another product failed or was defective and we are pleased to hear that steps are being taken to remedy a hazard that could potentially endanger kids and babies.

The recalled child safety restraints were manufactured between May 1, 2008 and April 30, 2009. They were sold under the brands Maxi-Cosi, Safety 1st, Julie Vallese, and Eddie Bauer. There is concern that because the harness locking and release button do not always go back to its locked position, the harness adjustment strap might slip back through the adjuster while a child moves around in the seat. This could loosen the harness, placing the child at serious risk of injury during a traffic crash.

While Dorel says it has received 143 complaints over the front harness loosening, the manufacturer was quick to say that it does not consider the issue to be a safety defect and that no related reports of injuries or deaths have been filed.

DJG says it will give consumers a repair kit to fix the safety issue. Consumers can keep using the DJC child safety restraints before the remedy has been applied, but they should make sure that the lock/release button is securely in the locked position and that the harness is properly adjusted and hasn’t come loose.

Washington DC Personal Injury

A child can die during a DC car crash because he/she was seated in a defective car seat. This is why it is so important that manufacturers make sure their child safety restraints are designed and made properly. Common child safety seat defects:

• Poor construction
• Design defects
• Shell separation
• Harness defects
• Mechanism failures
• Inadequate instructions
• Insufficient testing of seats
Nearly 800,000 Dorel Child-Safety Seats Are Recalled, NY Times, February 14, 2011
Consumer Advisory: Dorel Recalling Nearly 800,000 Child Safety Seats For Safety Harness Issue, NHTSA, February 14, 2011
Related Web Resources:

Dorel Juvenile Group

Child Safety Seats, US Department of Transportation
Related Web Resources:
Drop-Side Cribs No Longer Allowed, Rules CPSC, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2010
Preventing Washington DC Injuries to Children: Graco Strollers, Fisher-Price Toys, and Drop-Side Cribs by Ethan Allen, Victory Land, and Angel Line Among Latest Recalls Issued, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, October 23, 2010
CPSC Recalls “ChildESIGNS” and Generation 2 Worldwide Drop-Side Cribs Following Three Child Deaths, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2010

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Last year, our Washington DC wrongful death lawyers reported on a DC injuries to minors accident linked to a baby monitor cord. Savannah Caroline, 10 months, died last March after she became entangled in the cord. Eight months later, a 6-month old baby died after he too was strangled because of his video monitor’s cord.

Now, Summer Infant and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are recalling about 1.7 million video baby monitors. The recall will allow Summer Infant to provide new on-product warning labels and instructions so that parents and guardians will know where they can place the baby monitor so that it doesn’t pose an injury hazard to kids. Summer Infant is also recalling the rechargeable batteries of another 58,000 video monitors because they pose a possible burn hazard. These monitors were sold at Babies R Us in 2009 and 2010.

Injuries caused by products that malfunction, have design defects, or fail to provide instructions or warnings on proper use can be grounds for a Washington DC products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. The supplier or seller can also be held liable for DC personal injury or wrongful death for making the defective or dangerous product available for purchase.

Strangulation is an all too common problem when it comes to babies and certain product defects. Manufacturers know this and it is their responsibility to prevent these types of accidents from happening.

Last year, the CPSC provided a Safety Alert warning parents of what to do to keep their kids from strangling in a baby monitor cord:

• Make sure that the cord and the monitor is placed far away enough that the baby cannot reach for it.
• Make sure that the cord is over three feet away from any crib, play yard, bassinet, or sleeping area.
• As your baby grows, constantly check to make sure that he/she still cannot reach the monitor cord.
Two Strangulation Deaths Prompt Summer Infant to Recall Video Baby Monitors with Cords; Firm to Provide New On-Product Label & Instructions, CPSC, February 11, 2011
Big recall of baby monitors linked to 2 deaths, AP/Google, February 11, 2011
Related Web Resources:
Baby Products, Consumer Reports

Recalls

Related Blog Posts:
Washington DC Injury: Strangulation Accident Involving Baby Monitor Cord Causes 10-Month-Old’s Death, Washington DC Injury Lawyers Blog, October 28, 2010
Preventing Washington DC Injuries to Children: Graco Strollers, Fisher-Price Toys, and Drop-Side Cribs by Ethan Allen, Victory Land, and Angel Line Among Latest Recalls Issued, Washington DC Injury Lawyers Blog, October 23, 2010
Washington DC Injuries to Children: Banning Drop-Side Cribs, Washington DC Injury Lawyers Blog, August 17, 2010

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