baby in blue bath tub

Infant seats designed to be used in the bathtub have been recalled after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said they have the potential to tip over, posing a drowning risk to babies.

Our product liability attorneys understand that about 35,000 units of the Italian-made bath seats have so far been sold.

The seats are designed for infants between the ages of 5 months and 10 months. They are affixed with suction cups on the bottom of the seat. A circular arm rail connects both side posts.

Officials with the CPSC say the seats fail to meet federal safety standards for stability requirements. The seats have been shown to topple.

Obviously, infants should never be left in the bathtub unsupervised at any point – in a bath chair or not. But such devices could result in significant injury to a small child, even if a parent were seated nearby.

The products were sold at retail stores Buy Buy Baby and Bed Bath & Beyond between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2013. They retailed for about $40.

As we are in the full swing of summer, the subject of infant and young child drownings is an appropriate one. While swimming pools are the number one site of child drownings, the CPSC notes there are a number of other locations and products that can contribute to such a tragedy.

In the four years between 1996 and 1999, the CPSC reported some 460 children had died in bathtubs, toilets, buckets, spas and other containers of water. Anything that holds more than 5 gallons of liquid should be considered a potential drowning hazard. This could include even fish tanks and landscape ponds.

In an effort to help prevent child drownings, the CPSC has compiled the following list of safety tips:

  • Never, ever leave an infant alone in the bathtub, even for a moment. You always want to have the infant within an arm’s reach, and you never want to entrust the care of a young infant to the care of another young child. If you have to leave for any purpose, take the child with you.
  • As this recall shows, baby bath seats are no substitute for supervision. They are meant to serve as an aid to bathing, not a safety device. Even when there are no fundamental flaws in the design of the product, children have been known to slip or climb out of these seats and drown.
  • No buckets or other containers with liquid should be left unattended. All containers holding liquid should be emptied immediately after use.
  • Keep buckets where young children can’t find them. Containers left outside have the potential to collect rainwater and therefore become a drowning hazard.
  • If you have a slip-resistant, non-skid tub, don’t use a bath seat. The suction cups will fail to adhere to the surface or could even detach without warning.
  • Keep the lid of the toilet seat down. Consider using a clip on the toilet to prevent children from opening the lid.
  • With hot tubs or spas, use barriers and safety covers to prevent entry by small children.

The Ferraro Law Firm handles product liability claims nationwide. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources:
Buy Buy Baby Recalls Idea Baby Bath Seats Due to Drowning Hazard, June 18, 2013, Recall Notice, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

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FDA: Recalled Knee Replacement Devices Cause Serious Health Problems, April 13, 2013, Product Liability Lawyer Blog