Children’s Folding Chair Safety Hazards
In October 2015, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a new safety standard rule for children’s folding chairs and stools. Between 2003 and 2014, they received 98 reports of injuries involving these products, and the new rule was intended to make the chairs safer for children to use.
Over a year later, however, we are still seeing unnecessary injuries in children associated with folding chairs. Recently, for example, there have been reports made to the CPSC of hand & finger crush and amputation injuries associated with Delta Children’s Products Corporation’s metal folding chairs made for young children.
Investigations are ongoing to see if the Delta metal folding chairs complied with CPSC standards, and to determine if Delta failed to adequately warn consumers about the metal chair’s risks and dangers.
What Are Children’s Folding Chairs?
The CPSC defines a children’s chair as “seating furniture with a rigid frame that is intended to be used as a support for the body, limbs, or feet of a child when sitting or resting in an upright or reclining position.” They go on to further define a folding chair or stool as “a children’s chair or stool, which can be folded for transport or storage.”
Such a chair is designed to be used by a single child who can get in and out of the product without assistance. The products have a seat height of 15 inches or less and are clearly made for children to be able to play with even when parents aren’t around.
The Delta children’s metal folding chairs are advertised as being easy to fold for portability. They’re 12 inches wide by 21.7 inches high and 12.75 inches deep, specifically made for children. The company advertises them as “built from sturdy materials,” and states that the products will stand up to years of playtime.
These chairs are often decorated on the seat and back with child-friendly images, including Sesame Street characters, Disney characters, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Types of Injuries Associated with Delta Children’s Folding Chairs
The Delta folding metal chairs should be designed and manufactured in accordance with the CPSC rules and with the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) industry standards. Unfortunately, that may not be the case here.
The problem may be with the locking mechanism. It has been alleged to fail, causing the chair’s legs to fold before the safety lock is released. Potential injuries associated with this alleged defect include:
- Hand crush injuries
- Amputation injuries
- Broken fingers
- Pinched fingers
- Head and face injuries
Delta previously recalled about 81,000 of their Director’s Chairs for children because of safety hazards. The chairs could be mis-assembled in such a way that the fabric seat could come off and expose the metal support rods in the frame. This presented a laceration and fall risk for children. The company implemented the recall after receiving six reports of the seat coming off. In those of those reports, children received lacerations, with one child requiring stitches.
Delta isn’t the only company facing potential litigation because of allegedly faulty folding chairs. In January 2017, IKEA announced a recall of about 33,000 folding beach chairs for safety issues. The company received 13 reports of incidents, including 10 injuries, six of which resulted in fingertip amputations. In this case, IKEA stated that after washing the fabric seat, it was possible for consumers to reassemble the chair incorrectly, increasing the risk of falls and finger entrapments.
A Wayne County, New York family recently filed a new folding chair lawsuit against Dick’s Sporting Goods and the chair manufacturers. They claim their child was sitting in the chair when it collapsed, causing the child to fall into the campfire and suffer injuries.
The CPSC estimates that over 2 million people are treated each year for injuries caused by dangerous furniture. Besides folding chairs, other pieces including dressers, bookcases, bureaus, and desks can also cause injuries. Data from the CPSC gathered between 2002 and 2015 showed that chairs, including folding chairs, and couches kill an average of 187 people and injure over 415,000 each year in the U.S.
What’s Wrong with These Folding Chairs?
At issue with these chairs are both the design and the construction. That’s why the CPSC proposed a new safety standard, to reduce the risk that these products will be designed in such a way as to make children vulnerable to injuries.
The new rule modified certain key requirements of the current safety standards:
- Added a new sideways stability test in addition to the backward stability test to ensure there are no top-overs in the sideways or rearward directions.
- Changed the labeling section to provide more prominent placement of hazard information in an attempt to enhance the effectiveness of warnings.
Many folding chairs currently place their warning label on the bottom of the chair, for example. The CPSC has proposed for the label to be placed on the back of the chair’s backrest or on the legs where it would be more visible.
The current standard already addresses certain hazards associated with folding chairs, however, including requirements for adequate clearances or locking mechanisms to reduce the risk of pinch/shear injuries. These standards were already in place when Delta designed their metal folding chairs.
Delta Children’s Metal Folding Chair Lawsuits
Consumers who purchased Delta Children’s metal folding chairs or any other brand of folding chairs and then suffered serious injuries because of a potential design or other defects may be eligible to recover damages in a folding chair lawsuit.
Chaffin Luhana provides consultations and case evaluations to help patients determine whether they may have a case against Delta or another chair manufacturer. Call today at 1-888-316-2311.