Play Yards Recalled Because Of Death Due To Design Flaw

The 425,000 play yards that were recalled yesterday were recalled because of a design flaw that caused the strangulation of a 10-month-old boy.

A safety commission spokesperson told Bloomberg:

“This is not a made-in-China issue,” a safety commission spokeswoman, Patty Davis, said in a telephone interview. “This is a defect in the design of the product by the U.S. company.”

Kolcraft, the designers of the cribs, say that the death was caused by “misuse” of the play yard, which carried a warning against leaving infants alone in the product while the changing table was in place.

Baby Furniture Maker Recalls Playpens [NYT]
Kolcraft Recalls Play Yards After the Death of a 10-Month-Old Child [CPSC]


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  1. allthatsevil says:

    American Design Flaw Train – nice!

    Is it just me, or doesn’t it seem like all these ‘design flaws’ also have something to do with people using/installing something improperly? Which you would think, when it comes to something for babies and children, people would be even more careful about?

  2. mconfoy says:

    @allthatsevil: Products should and are not allowed to be made such that a common mistake causes death. If your car did not have properly inflated tires and that caused you to die, that’s OK? Sure people should be more careful, but the death of a baby should not be the price of this type of mistake. If they put the play yard in a lake, sure, not because of this though. I doubt the instructions read “some assembly required, warning, a mistake may cause death of child.” Do you? Not too mamy people would buy it then, though of course it would be illegal to sale in this country.

  3. allthatsevil says:

    @mconfoy: You seriously misunderstood my comment, though that’s probably my fault. I did kind of word that in the wrong way.

    I’m not saying it’s the parents’ fault – clearly it’s the responsibility of the manufacturer to prevent something like that from being possible. As a woman about to give birth in the next few days (one way or another), it boggles my mind that anyone can be so irresponsible as to allow something like this. Products made for use with babies and young children should have more stringent production guidelines than other products out there.

    What’s really odd to me is that recently there’ve been a few recalls that were not a matter of a major design flaw, but of something very simple and easily preventable. Especially in the case of those cribs where the railing was being installed wrong. I know from experience how hard it is to follow the instructions that come with baby furniture – ours didn’t even have any words, just pictures. With something that a baby is going to be spending a lot of time in, you’d think they’d make the instructions as detailed as possible.

    And think of how horrible those parents must feel. You know they partly blame themselves, but how could they have known?

  4. It’s a shame because they LOOK so cool. I mean…I seriously heart space conservation, and that is just all conservative as hell, if it wasn’t in such garish colors.

    On the other hand, it looks kind of flimsy and like leaving your kid in it for naptime or whatever would give the child back problems, so maybe they can fix that before the next re-release as well.

    Seriously, is there a law that baby stuff has to be butt-ugly? Like you won’t know its for a baby unless it looks like Kalmus threw up on it? Shopping for my stepdaughter is awful, because there’s so much ugly crap aimed at little children.

  5. WV.Hillbilly says:

    I like the way they’re called play yards now.
    I guess the old term “play pen” sounded too corrective or penal or something.

  6. ooolam says:

    @mconfoy: I totally agree with you, but at the same time, I think we are so well protected that most of the consumers don’t even try to use their common sense to think when they use / install a product. Of course, it is manufacturers’ responsibility to design a fool-proof product, but we should also encourage people to think with their common sense when using any products. Just take a look at how many warning labels in any owner’s manual; you would think most of them are down right common sense, but then people still make those silly mistake everyday. That shows you how most of the people don’t even bother to think anymore. I just think we are a little being spoiled.

  7. kip says:

    Please keep in mind that the Simplicity crib recall involved incorrect instructions. Even if a parent followed the instructions to the letter, their child was in danger. In the case of incorrect instructions, I think that the entire burden of guild lays with the manufacturer.

  8. allthatsevil says:

    @spiderjerusalem: Graco has a similar product called a Pac ‘N Play, which looks a lot nicer. There are plenty of patterns to choose from and I haven’t seen any that didn’t look nice.

    One of the major differences is the Graco version has a platform that goes all the way across the top, instead of just big enough for changing diapers. That way, when you have a very young baby, they can still play in the top part and it’s easier to keep an eye on them. Also makes it easier to lift them in and out. It’s removable, of course, so you don’t have to trap your child in the bottom when they get older.

    I agree with what you said about baby/kid stuff being ugly, too. My sister has the whole jungle theme going for her daughter, and I can’t stand the garish colors. I got stroller and swing (and soon the Pac ‘N Play) in navy blue with classic Pooh artwork. It’s very subtle and non-offensive, yet still made for a kid. Maybe it’s a bit vain of me, but I don’t think having a kid means that your entire home has to look like a playground at Mc’D’s.

  9. DoctorMD says:

    Once again a poor headline. It should read “Parent kills child by not following instructions and blames it on play yard design flaw”. One accident in 425,000 units over 7 years seems like a very small risk relative to putting your kid in a car. Oh wait those can kill 48,000 people a year and no one even cares. Maybe we can send 500,000 playpens to a third world country to to safety check with their children. Then we will know if its safe enough.