Any parent of a young child will tell you a high chair is one of the most important purchases they’ve made for their family. And one of the primary concerns when shopping for a high chair is safety. Unfortunately, there have been a number of incidents in which parents thought they were buying a safe chair for their child, only to realize there were risks and their child was exposed to harm.
A number of high chairs have been recalled from the market in recent years because of safety concerns. Statistics show high chair incidents send kids to the emergency room on a daily basis, mostly due to falls from the chair. Most chairs are designed with a safety belt to hold children in place, and when that belt is too loose or used in correctly, it’s easy for a child to wiggle free and fall to the ground – obviously something that could cause a serious injury.
High Chair Recalls
A number of brands have been forced to recall their high chairs over the years because of safety hazards. In one example in 2009, Evenflo recalled approximately 750,000 chairs because there was a fall risk and choking hazard associated with its Envision chair and some models of its Majestic high chair line.
According to the recall notice announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Evenflo Company, Inc., the recall was issued because chairs reclined too fast and metal screws on the sides of the chair could loosen and fall out, which made it possible for the seat back to detach or recline without intention. In addition to the falling hazard, there was also a risk children might ingest the loose parts.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission stated it had received more than 300 reports about the Envision chair seat backs detaching that included 19 reports of bumps and bruises to the head and 35 reports of other injuries. The commission had also received 13 reports concerning screws falling out of the chairs.
In 2010, Graco recalled a number of its high chairs when it became evident screws holding the front legs of high chairs can loosen and fall out, and/or the plastic bracket on the rear legs might crack causing the chair to become unstable and tip over, posing a fall hazard to children. At the time of the recall there had been 24 adverse events reported.
This was not the last time Graco was faced with a consumer recall issue. In 2012, nearly 90,000 of the company’s wooden high chairs were recalled throughout the United States and Canada because of reports that the seat portion of the chair detaches without warning. The recall was issued after Graco received at last 58 reports of the base detaching or loosening. There were at least nine children who suffered scratches, bumps, and bruises after falling out of the wooden high chairs. One Canadian child reportedly suffered a concussion.
Critics Believe Recalls Should Come Faster
Following one of Evenflo’s high chair recalls, consumers alleged they should have been warned earlier about the dangers associated with the chairs. In one instances, nearly 100 injuries occurred, including at least two children suffering broken bones, and there were nearly 50 head injuries and 45 reports of cuts and bruises. The company received more than 1000 reports about the loosening issues that also included complaints about the choking hazards from loose parts. It was unclear when the first reports began to roll into the company, but some speculated the recall should have been issued sooner. Some were also concerned the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not act soon enough either.
The criticism was due in part to concerns related to a 2008 recall of defective baby cribs that caused the deaths of several infants. An investigation suggested the recall for the cribs could have been issued earlier. In response, the Consumer Product Safety Commission claims to have altered the way in which it handles complaints, but critics are still concerned warnings do not come soon enough to prevent serious accidents and injuries from occurring.
Our goal is to help parents understand how important it is to research their options before investing in baby products and to know that when selecting a high chair it’s important to make sure it feels firm and sturdy. Also, check its locking device and make sure the belt is securely attached to the head and can be adjusted to the child properly. Finally, make sure the wheels on the high chair can be locked to avoid the head moving around. It’s also important for parents to understand if a high chair is defective, they have a right to consider legal action.