Articles Posted in Child Safety

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Early darkness and Halloween are a dangerous time of year for pedestrian accidents, particularly those involving younger children in residential neighborhoods. The most dangerous time is right at dusk.halloween-1322330-300x225

But our Fort Myers injury lawyers know Halloween is also a time of year of increased accident and injury risks from other causes. Defective product injuries increase around Halloween and remain elevated through the long holiday gift-giving season. Injuries on private property, drunk driving collisions, and an increasing number of injury incidents at organized events, including the well-publicized tragedy at the 2015 Zombicon in downtown Fort Myers, have made Halloween among the most dangerous times of the year.

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swimminginthepool-300x225Four Southwest Florida drowning deaths have occurred in less than a month, prompting authorities and safety advocates to renew calls for better water-safety awareness as we head into the tourist season.

The Naples Daily News reported child safety officials are pledging to beef up education campaigns to families about never letting their guard down and following safety practices. One child drown at a pool party, another died after a sliding door was left open. A third drowning death reportedly involved an autistic child. Charlotte County authorities have released few details about a fourth drowning death under investigation last week.

With drowning deaths in all three of Southwest Florida’s coastal counties, authorities are reminding residents to practice open water safety, but to not forget the risks posed by backyard swimming pools. Two drowning deaths in Collier County, a drowning death in Lee County, and the drowning death in Charlotte County all involved swimming pools. Florida leads the nation in the number of private swimming pools.

Fort Myers injury lawyers know the state’s more than 1 million residential swimming pools pose a significant risk to the public. Children are at especially high risk, but vacationers and tourists visiting during the winter months also face increased risk of drowning or near-drowning accidents.

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The school year gets underway in Southwest Florida on Aug. 12, and motorists should expect to begin seeing an increasing number of young people walking or cycling to school, particularly during the early morning hours and the start of the afternoon commute.

Florida is already the most dangerous state in the nation for both bicyclists and pedestrians. The beginning of the school year, and the arrival of early darkness, often lead to an increased risk of child injury. schoolbusstop-300x225

Our Fort Myers child injury lawyers urge you to use caution, particularly near school zones or while traveling through residential neighborhoods. Providing children the right-of-way is always the best bet when it comes to reducing your chances of being found responsible for causing a tragic accident.

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School buses will be back on the roads of Southwest Florida next week as the 2019-2020 school year officially begins Monday Aug. 12.

Our injury lawyers in Fort Myers and Cape Coral urge all motorists to use caution as the school year begins. Taking an extra couple of minutes can literally avoid a tragedy. More than 70 percent of eligible students ride the bus in Lee County, which operates more than 700 buses traveling more than 12 million miles each school year. schoolbus3-300x225

For parents, the Lee County School District offers a searchable database of school-bus routes. Motorists should just count on seeing school buses during their morning and afternoon commute.

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Fisher-Price is recalling its Rock ‘N Play product, which has been linked to more than 30 infant deaths. The company is offering a cash refund to customers who have owned the product for six months or less. Those who have owned the product for longer can seek a pro-rated voucher refund from the company. cribinjury-300x199

MarketWatch reports the recall could cost Fisher-Price up to $60 million and involves nearly 5 million units. The Rock ‘N Play sleeper is manufactured in China and retails in the United States for between $40 and $149. We can see by the pro-rated refund “voucher” that the company continues to focus on the bottom line, and not on the safety of consumers.

Frequently recalls highlight the risk of serious or fatal injuries resulting from dangerous or defective consumer products. But issuing a recall does not relieve a company of the legal liability associated with marketing these products to consumers.

Mattel issued the recall after complaints to the company and the Consumer Product Safety Commission that infants could roll over and suffocate. The CPSC reports more than 30 infant deaths have occurred while using the product in the last decade. The company said the recall was voluntary and blamed some of the incidents on incorrect use of the products that were contrary to safety warnings and instructions. Our injury lawyers know neither the “voluntary” recall nor the assertion that the product was used incorrectly will protect the company from legal liability in this case.

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For the second time this year a child has been killed near a Lee County bus stop.

Monday’s tragic death of an 8-year-old Cape Coral girl has rallied the entire community. She was struck by a truck while waiting with her twin brothers at the side of the road. A red pickup truck traveling toward the intersection struck her and then left the scene. An outpouring of community support and a GoFundMe page have raised more than $48,000 this week. Police have recovered the truck and identified a suspect as the investigation continues. schoolbusstop-300x225

So far in 2019, a total of 28 people have died on Lee County roads, a record number, The News-Press reported. Nearly half of these deaths have victimized our most vulnerable road users, including the deaths of seven pedestrians, as well as four cyclists.

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New research suggests parents should leave their children in rear-facing car seats until they have outgrown them.

While it’s unclear when Florida will update its own recommendations, parents and caregivers should start using the new guidelines as soon as possible. USA Today reports the new car-seat guidelines for rear-facing seats are designed to save lives. Safety advocates now say children should use the seats until they reach the height and weight limit suggested by the manufacturer. Newer, stronger seats are allowing parents to use them for larger children.

Previous guidelines suggest use of rear-facing car seats until a child reached the age of 2.carseat-218x300

“Fortunately, car seat manufacturers have created seats that allow children to remain rear-facing until they weigh 40 pounds or more, which means most children can remain rear-facing past their second birthday,” said Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, lead author of the policy statement and chair of the AAP Council on Injury, Violence and Poison Prevention. “It’s best to keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. This is still the safest way for children to ride.”
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NBC2 is reporting gun deaths involving children are on the rise in Southwest Florida.

According to hospital discharge data, Florida gun deaths involving children under the age of 18 increased from 75 in 2010 to 105 in 2016. Non-fatal hospitalizations and emergency visits were also up substantially. Nationwide, 1,300 kids a year are killed in firearm’s accidents and nearly 6,000 are treated for gunshot wounds, CNN reported. 

“This has been a steadily increasing progression, and if you look at the numbers and statistics, it certainly shows that,” said Nelayda Fonte, a trauma surgeon at Lee Health.gun injury

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As the holidays approach, the demand for new toys will be high, both in stores and online. Buyers must be cautious when purchasing items to make sure they are following the manufacturer’s age recommendations and that they stay tuned to any reports of injuries or news of a potential toy recall.injury lawyer

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued its annual Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries report for 2016, revealing that last year, there were a total of 240,000 emergency department trips spurred by dangerous or defective toys. That doesn’t represent a significant statistical trend

While not every toy-related injury is cause for a personal injury lawsuit, if plaintiff can show the product was unreasonably dangerous or defectively designed or defectively manufactured, there may be grounds for legal action. Serious injuries can occur when toys are made cheaply, with toxic materials or sold with inadequate warnings. Defendants in these cases can include anyone in the chain of distribution – from the product designer to its manufacturer to its distributor. Continue reading →

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In Florida, property owners are generally liable for dangerous conditions that are not obvious and cause harm to those who are lawfully present. There are varying degrees of a property owner’s responsibility in this area of law – known as premises liability – depending on the status of the individual who was hurt. For example, someone who is invited onto the property for the financial benefit of the property owner is owed a higher duty of care than someone who is trespassing. child injury lawyer

In most cases, trespassers are not owed any duty of care, except that property owners can’t intentionally harm them or set traps. When it comes to children, though, the standards are different. Children are generally owed a greater duty of care than adults in the same situation, and this is true also when children are trespassing. The doctrine of attractive nuisance, for example, holds that if property owners maintain dangerous conditions likely to attract young children to the site, the property owner must be sensitive to that potential danger (which a child may not appreciate) by posting a warning or taking some other affirmative steps to protect children from that danger.

Recently in Minnesota, the state supreme court there considered property owner liability in the case where a 4-year-old boy nearly drowned in the Mississippi River and suffered severe and permanent brain damage.  Continue reading →