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Keeping families safe from everyday products

No family wishes to see a child or other family member harmed by a defective product. In reality, people can be harmed by everyday consumer products they have in their homes and do not give much thought to. Globally, greater than 1 million children are killed by preventable injuries they have suffered because of a defective or dangerous product. Developed countries have been able to cut this statistic in half over the past quarter century through education, law enforcement and other safety measures, including product recalls, but dangers still exist. Product recalls occur when manufacturers work with the government to remove dangerous or defective products from the hands of consumers.

Though the expectation may be that purchased items are always safe, any consumer item may potentially be harmful. It is important to remember that product safety standards may not be the same in all places and that defects can occur because of a design defect, component parts defect or because of insufficient instructions or inadequate safety warnings.

Children can be particularly at risk, as a 2013 report revealed that recalls of children's products have increased 18 percent and that of the 1,566 incidents that occurred from 2012 to 2013, 11 resulted in deaths. Everyday items accounted for greater than half of the injuries and only 10 percent of recalled children's items that year were corrected.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is one resource for consumers to report defects and monitor recall alerts. The legal process also offers options and resources to receive compensation for damages and potentially hold manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, as well as others in the chain of distribution, responsible for injuries families receive resulting from consumer products. Holding those responsible for dangerous and defective products liable, may help both injured consumers receive compensation and help to keep families safe from consumer injuries.

Source: Savannah Morning News, "Protect your children from defective products," Stephen Lowry, Oct. 23, 2014

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