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Fire Pits, Children, and Severe Burns: What to Know This Summer

outdoor fire pit dad and sonFire pits are one of the most popular features in backyards throughout southern California. In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects recently named outdoor fire pits the most popular design feature for outside the home all across the nation.

There are few things more pleasant than a cookout outdoors in the summer. But homeowners need to be aware of the dangers fire pits pose, especially to small children.

Dramatic Increase in Burn Injuries Since 2008

Last year, fire pits and outdoor heaters were associated with roughly 5,300 injuries that caused people to go to emergency rooms nationwide. That’s a dramatic nearly 179% rise from 2008 levels, when 1,900 injuries occurred.

Of these, 25% were children less than 5 years old. Burns can be extremely severe, requiring skin grafts and surgery. Not only that, but, as NBC News points out, many parents say their child was injured in what seemed to be a matter of seconds.

Parents need to follow safety precautions to make sure that no one is injured in fire pits.

Tips for Fire Pit Safety

Those with fire pits need to follow recommended procedures for safety.

  • Keep children and pets at least 10 feet from a fire pit.
  • Supervise children at all times whenever you have a fire pit going.
  • Make sure that all your children know the rules of being around a fire pit.
  • Remember that coals can be hot the next day. Make sure that all children know this, as many burns of young children happen the next day.
  • Check with local authorities to make sure a fit pit is legal in your area.
  • Check to see whether weather conditions are regulated. Wind, for example, can cause fire pit fires to blow, so some local authorities regulate when pits are safe to use.
  • Use only recommended fuel.
  • Load the fuel safely. Don’t load so many wooden sticks that there is a danger of them falling out.
  • Make sure the pit is a minimum of 10 feet from anything flammable.
  • Keep extinguishing material nearby in case the fire flares up or catches on something. Depending on your fire pit model, this could be sand, water, or a chemical fire extinguisher.

Talk to a Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured by a fire pit, call us to discuss your case. The Ellis Injury Law Firm has been protecting people from personal injury in the Los Angeles area for more than two decades. Our product liability lawyers can determine whether defective manufacturing or inadequate safety instructions may have contributed to you or your child’s injury. Our consultation comes at no cost or obligation to you, and we charge no fees unless we win money for you. Call 1-800-INJURED today!

Additional Resources:

  1. Rodriguez, Natalie. Fire Pit Safety. This Old House. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/more/fire-pit-safety
  2. Scher, Avichai and Tom Costello. “Injuries from backyard fire pits on the rise, experts warn.” NBC News. June 29, 2018. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/injuries-backyard-fire-pits-rise-experts-warn-n887416

Unrepaired Defective Airbags: A Fatal Toll in California

unrepaired defective airbags californiaHundreds of thousands of California residents are still driving recalled vehicles with dangerously defective airbag inflators that could explode and spray shrapnel into the passenger compartment upon deployment. At least 11 Americans, including three Californians have been killed by the defective inflators.

The airbag recall includes vehicles from 19 different auto manufacturers, most of which are early 2000 models. According to the Airbag Coalition, the most common are 2001 and 2002 Honda Civics and Accords and 2002 and 2003 Acuras. Those particular models have a higher chance of exploding and are considered unsafe to drive. Further, southern California drivers are at additional risk due to the weather; high temperatures and humidity negatively impact the propellants in the airbag.

The highest number of unfixed cars in California is attributed to its larger population. Recall notices have been sent to owners, however it can be difficult to track down current owners if vehicles have been resold. Grassroots efforts were launched in March by Airbag Recall Southern California to educate the community about the danger of the unrepaired airbags, and to urge drivers to check their VIN numbers and schedule the free repair.

Takata, the manufacturer of the defective airbags has pledged on its website that it is “fully committed to being part of the solution.” The company has also paid a $25 million fine and established a $125 million fund for victims. Vehicle owners can check if their car is part of the recall here:  www.airbagrecall.com .

If you’ve been harmed by a defective product, faulty automobile part, or other unsafe item, the Los Angeles product liability lawyers at Ellis Law can thoroughly review your case  to determine if  you may be entitled to compensation. With more than two decades of experience advocating for clients who’ve suffered serious injuries and financial hardships due to recalled and defective products, we will do our utmost to hold the liable parties accountable for your losses.  Contact us for a free and confidential consultation at 1-800-INJURED.



Child Product Recalls and Injuries on the Rise in 2016

child product recalls on the rise in 2016According to recent statistical reports released by Kids in Danger, there were 76 children’s products and nearly 67 million units recalled in 2016. Chief offenders were McDonald’s recall of Step-It activity wristbands and Ikea’s Malm chests and dressers, each responsible for 29 million units.

Kids in Danger, a Chicago based children’s safety advocacy group, suggests that these potentially dangerous products remain on store shelves too long before any recall efforts are made. Although companies have effectively used social media to spread information regarding product recalls, the report suggests that companies tend to wait until numerous accidents have been reported before announcing formal recalls.

KID will continue to work to provide information to increase recall effectiveness and broaden consumer awareness in 2017 and beyond with regard to injuries and deaths related to children’s product recalls. Parents can check saferproducts.gov for recall reports and sign up for safety updates at kidsindanger.org.

Representing clients throughout the nation, Ellis Law’s California personal injury attorneys offer unsurpassed legal representation to those who’ve suffered harm from faulty products, whether it occurred in the workplace, at a business establishment or at home  A successful product liability lawsuit can recoup monetary damages related to dangerous prescription drugs, defective medical devices, hazardous infant toys and other products that cause consumer injury. Contact us at 1-800-INJURED for a free review of your circumstances.



Consumer Watchdog Lists Most Dangerous Toys for 2016

dangerJust in time for the holidays, a consumer watchdog group has released their list of the most dangerous toys for 2016. W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) has provided the list based on concerns like inconsistent or inaccurate warnings or age recommendations for toys, as well as potential hazards in the toy design.

The group is advising parents to use caution when shopping for toys for their children this holiday season, particularly when considering the toys on their list of safety concerns.

Prevalence of toy injuries

Every three minutes in the United States, a child is treated in an emergency room for a toy-related injury, according to W.A.T.C.H. In 2014 alone, there were more than 251,000 injuries involving toys. In addition, between 2010 and 2014, 61 deaths were related to toy injuries. Because toys are not a necessity of life, accidents involving these devices can be that much more tragic.

While dangerous toys pose a year-round threat to children, the problem tends to become more prevalent at Christmas time, when a large percentage of toys are actually purchased for the year. The hope of W.A.T.C.H. is that parents will use the information provided by the watchdog group to select safe toys for their children that will bring both peace of mind and enjoyment the whole year through. The organization also uses their list to call attention to the need for more stringent oversight and regulation of toys that come onto the market to protect children from potential hazards before they occur.

Top 10 most dangerous toys

The list provided by W.A.T.C.H. includes the following 10 toys:

  • Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family – small parts create a choking hazard and appropriate warnings are not found on all of these toys
  • Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow – while the packaging information shows a picture of an infant snuggling with the oversized pillow, there is widespread evidence that pillows like this one can pose a suffocation hazard to very small children.
  • Slimeball Slinger – the speed at which the green slime is emitted from this machine can create a risk for an eye injury.
  • Banzai Bump and Bounce Body Bump – the large plastic inflatable balls are worn by younger children as they are encouraged to run into one another. Unfortunately, safety equipment is not included in the product package.
  • Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster – although this toy also has the potential to cause eye injury, there is no warning label to that effect and no protective eyewear is included.
  • The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch – this toy features a sharply pointed tail that can result in a puncture wound if the user is not careful
  • Peppy Pups – this stuffed toy comes with a long leash that can pose a strangulation risk, but the toy does not carry any warning to that effect
  • Flying Heroes Superman Launcher – the toy, which is marketed to children as young as four, may carry a risk of eye and facial injury when launched improperly
  • Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby – despite the fact that this toy does not come with a warning, one of the pieces can block  child’s airway if it is placed into the mouth
  • Warcraft Doomhammer – the hard plastic and blunt shape of the hammer could cause injury on impact, but there is no warning to that effect on the product packaging

Product liability attorneys in LA

While this list provides parents with important information about possible hazards involving some of the most popular toys of 2016, it does not list every toy that could harm a child this year. If your child is injured by a toy due to manufacturer defect or failure of the manufacturer to provide warning about hazards, you may be entitled to damages for your child’s injuries.

At Ellis Injury Law, we help families every day that have been affected by the negligence of a product manufacturer. To learn more or to receive a free assessment of your case, contact a Los Angeles product liability lawyer today at 1-800-INJURED.