Child Choking Attorney in Boston

While no sum of money can compensate you for an injury to your child, you may rest a little easier knowing that all negligent parties have been held accountable and made to pay for their negligence. The Boston child choking injury attorney at Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers can help you maximize your financial recovery.

Babies and toddlers are known for being curious. One of the ways that they learn about the world around them is by sticking objects in their mouths.

While many toys and teethers are safe, others are not. Toys and other products with small, detachable parts can become lodged in a child's windpipe and cause the child to choke. According to Consumer Product Safety Commission data, these incidents are the leading cause of death among young children.

If your child or a child you know has suffered a choking injury because of a defective product or someone else's negligence, you could be entitled to compensation from all at-fault parties.

Common Child Choking Hazards

Companies that design and manufacture toys and baby accessories know that children are likely to put these items in their mouths. However, when toys or other items are defective in design and manufacture, they can come apart or break into pieces and cause serious choking injuries or even death.

Product manufacturers must warn consumers of any hazards associated with their products and label them to reflect the appropriate age group. For example, a toy suitable for a five-year-old may not be fit or safe for an infant.

Everyday products that often present choking risks include:

  • Toys
  • Stuffed/plush animals (including the stuffing)
  • Rattles
  • Teething rings
  • Pacifiers
  • Dolls and doll accessories
  • Marbles and small balls
  • Nails, bolts, and screws
  • Balloons
  • Magnets and magnetic pieces
  • Children's Clothing
  • Button-type batteries

Parents do not always think about clothing as a choking hazard, but it can be. Buttons, snaps, and even tags can become choking hazards under the right circumstances.

Lithium and other button batteries are found in various products, including toys, watches, singing greeting cards, and calculators. These batteries are especially dangerous to young children. Not only can they get stuck in a child's throat when swallowed, but they can cause severe burns. These burns often result in holes in the esophagus and can lead to the buildup of scar tissue and other long-term health complications. You should seek emergency medical treatment if your child swallows a button-type battery.

In addition, magnets can cause severe injuries, especially if they are large or if a child swallows more than one. Because they attract one another, they can cause an intestinal blockage or pinch off the walls of the GI tract.

Is My Child's Toy a Choking Hazard?

If you are unsure whether a toy or another product is safe for your child, you can .

Some recent recalls for choking hazards include:

  • Crate and Barrel Be the Band Music Set: The included maracas can break or become unscrewed, and the metal beads inside can spill out.
  • Bebe au Lait teethers: The string connecting the beads on the teether can come untied and release the beads.
  • Stance kids crew socks: The bells on the socks can detach.
  • Mushie & Co. FRIGG silicone pacifiers: The base of the silicone nipple can become separated from the plastic shield.

If you have any of these products, you should take them away from your child and contact the company for a refund.

Common Infant and Child Choking Injuries

Children under five are most likely to suffer a choking injury or die after choking on an object. This is because young children have a narrow windpipe, which means they are more likely to choke on a piece of food or a toy part. A young child's windpipe is about as wide as a drinking straw.

If you are a parent, you have undoubtedly experienced a few incidents in which your child started choking on a coin, a piece of food, or some other object that found its way into your youngster's mouth. The child probably coughed up the food or offending object (with or without your assistance), and you wrote off the incident as a close call. According to one study, one in five children between the ages of one and three have swallowed a non-food item. However, not all choking incidents have happy endings. Each year, hundreds of thousands of kids are treated for choking injuries in hospitals in Massachusetts and across the country.

Common choking injuries include:

  • Laceration of the mouth, airway, and vocal cords
  • Object stuck in the respiratory tract
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Lung puncture
  • Brain injuries
  • Coma
  • Suffocation

Approximately 140 children in the United States choke to death every year.

In many cases, a small, smooth object will pass through the child's system without any problems. But when that does not happen, and the object gets stuck, serious issues can arise.

Parents should always err on the side of caution and seek prompt medical attention when a child has swallowed a battery or a sharp item like a screw or paperclip. Sharp objects can damage the thin walls of the esophagus and cause bleeding or even an infection in the chest cavity. Children who are vomiting, gagging, coughing, wheezing, or complaining of stomach pain should also be seen by a doctor.

A doctor may perform an X-ray or CT scan to identify what the child swallowed and pinpoint where in the body it is stuck. In some cases, the doctor can remove the object or push it down into the stomach using special tools. Then, a series of X-rays or scans will show whether the object is moving through the child's digestive system. In most cases, it takes two to three days for an object to pass through the body.

A child may need surgery if there is an intestinal blockage.

When an object obstructs the airway, oxygen cannot reach the child's lungs and brain. Brain damage and death can occur when the brain is cut off from oxygen for more than four minutes.

Choking-related brain injuries can vary in severity. Affected individuals may experience confusion, short-term memory loss, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, seizures, and mobility problems.

Treatment, including hospitalization and therapy, may help those with mild and moderate brain injuries rebuild strength and relearn how to perform basic tasks. However, those with more severe brain injuries may need intensive therapy and could have permanent impairments that affect even the most basic activities, such as eating and walking.

Liability for Child Choking Injuries

After a choking incident, you might wonder who is responsible. Daycare or school employees entrusted with your child's care could be liable if they acted negligently and allowed the child access to a known choking hazard.

Daycare and school employees should know different first-aid skills, including CPR and a procedure involving blows to the back (similar to the Heimlich maneuver), which can help a choking child expel the swallowed object.

Suppose a toy or other product was defective and broke apart or otherwise caused a choking hazard. In that case, the manufacturer and other companies that contributed to distributing, marketing, and selling the product (think big-box retailers such as Target, Walmart, and Costco) could also be held liable. An attorney can help you file a product liability claim in this scenario.

Generally speaking, you and your attorney will need to show that:

  • The manufacturer and other responsible parties knew the product presented a choking hazard.
  • The responsible parties failed to warn of the choking hazard.
  • Your child was injured due to the failure to warn.

In Massachusetts, accident victims have three years from the date of injury to file a product liability suit.

If your child was hurt after choking on a toy, teether, or some other product, you should hang onto the item until you speak to an attorney. A lawyer will examine the facts of your child's choking case, explain your rights under the law, and help you build a case against all parties that caused or contributed to your child's injuries.

To learn more about how our child and infant choking attorneys can help with an injury or wrongful death claim, contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or complete our electronic form.

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