Sandals Recalled Because Flower = “Choking Hazard”

Folks — Be very, very, very scared of everything that exists on earth that is not the size of a bouncy house. (And then be afraid of them, too.) Because, of course, your child could choke on it. Hence, this kzdsdikhtz
recent recall
 of the Stride Rite “Joanna” sandal, whose  metal flower COULD become detached and hence  COULD become a choking hazard.

More hazardous than, say, EVERY SINGLE COIN in America? Every acorn? Every severed toe? (Uh…sorry about that one. Let’s sub in: “Every toy that ever came out of a gumball machine?”) As Ben Miller, my go-to voice of reason at the organization Common Good, says:

“This is risk aversion to an unsustainable extreme. What lesson should a company like Stride Right take from the recall? It’s impossible to manufacture a shoe, or for that matter any product, that’s completely incapable of causing any level of danger. A recall like this doesn’t promote safety so much as it promotes hiding behind a wall of lawyers, crossing your fingers, and hoping that the risk of a product recall doesn’t put you out of business.”

He’s so right. Any product can, under some circumstances, turn lethal. That’s a  fact  we can’t seem to get a grip on without running to issue a new warning or law, making everyday life seem ever scarier to parents. That’s one of the reasons for helicopter parenting — we are told that almost everything is out to kill our kids unless we are exceedingly vigilant.

White “Joanna” girl’s Stride Rite sandals with flower on top

Is this the face of a killer? No.

And not just because it’s not a face. – L

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63 Responses to Sandals Recalled Because Flower = “Choking Hazard”

  1. Kelly D. July 3, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    Product recalls like this almost take away my will to fight the free-range fight. You can’t fight this level of stupid. How about we just protect our kids from this “danger” by telling them…oh, I don’t know…DON’T EAT YOUR SHOES!

  2. Jenny Islander July 3, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    This sandal comes in children’s sizes 8.5 through 10. Children who wear sizes 8.5 through 10 are well past the stage when they pick at things and investigate the bits they can detach with their mouths.

    This is just silly.

  3. Renee Anne July 3, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Recalls like this are what drive me nuts. I can understand it being a choking hazard for a small child that doesn’t know any better (think along the lines of: big sister has these shoes and the flower comes off and little sister, who is just a crawler and is still sticking everything in her mouth, gets her little hands on it and chokes)…..but honestly, most girls that would have these shoes are at an age where it’s okay to say, “DON’T EAT YOUR SHOES.”

    If I owned these shoes and there was a recall, I’d just laugh and not worry about it.

  4. Yan Seiner July 3, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    The “DON”T EAT YOUR SHOES” reminds me of one of my favorite signs. The law (Federal and many states) require dire warnings on “recycled” water (water that has been treated but not to drinking water standards, say water that might come out of a river).

    This is a problem as the traditional black-and-yellow danger signs that say things like “WARNING: Untreated water AVOID HUMAN CONTACT” which is a bit of turn off when you use this water in a public bathroom to flush the toilet.

    So…. An enterprising water district came up with their own sign:

    “We use recycled water to flush our toilets. Don’t drink from the toilets.”

  5. anonymous this time July 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I swallowed a half-dollar when I was about three or four. Scared the heck out of me. I had it in my mouth, pretending it was candy, and then… it just went down.

    I think kids swallow things a lot more than they choke on them, anyway. Coins, acorns, shoe ornaments, pen caps, marbles, those little pieces you move around the board when you play “Sorry”… the kids in my neighbourhood probably swallowed them all, and lived to tell the tale.

    The odd kid who chokes is just that: ODD. Betting more kids choke on FOOD than anything else, and we aren’t going to recall THAT, are we?

    Let the shoes live, people! Just let the shoes live.

  6. gap.runner July 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    I think that in order to make kids 100% safe, we need to recall all of their clothing. Just wrap them in a layer of bubble wrap. It’s a wonder that we all made it to adulthood with all of the dangerous clothing we wore (jackets with strings long enough to tie, dresses with buttons, shoes with flowers).

    Just to be safe, and prevent a one-in-a-million accident, we should also recall all toys. We should plop our bubble wrapped kids in front of the TV, where we can keep a constant eye on them. We all know it’s better to err on the side of safety because anything can happen.

  7. Karen July 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    This would almost (not really but ALMOST) make sense if the shoe was for infants and people feared a 6 month old trying to eat her own foot as they are want to do pulling off the flower and choking on it. In the recall it stays the size is 8-10.5 which is probably for ages 2-4. My boys understand at that age not to eat their clothing or shoes. Well, mostly.

  8. Warren July 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    Check out the movie “The Island”. That is the type of enviroment we need for our children. When they are born, send them to a sanitary, secure location, where their every need is looked after. The release them when they are around 30 yrs old.

  9. AB July 3, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    At the ages of 2-4 my mother bought me pairs of shoes that had a cartoon character decal on each shoe that was could have been removed( with enough force though). She kept my last pair of those shoes for a long time, and over time the decals seemed to be permanently stuck to the pair. She told me to just donate them as I had only worn them twice and outgrew them quickly. Wonder if someone worried about lawsuits tried to rip the decals off in the name of safety when they arrived at the thrift store

  10. Gary July 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

    can you imagine the deathtrap that MacGyver’s house must be then…

  11. pentamom July 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    “I can understand it being a choking hazard for a small child that doesn’t know any better (think along the lines of: big sister has these shoes and the flower comes off and little sister, who is just a crawler and is still sticking everything in her mouth, gets her little hands on it and chokes) ”

    But even then….you don’t recall things for being a choking hazard because there might be someone in the household who could choke on it — no product could EVER be sold, then!

    I know you’re not saying that makes it okay, I’m just saying even that concern is really irrelevant because it has nothing to do with legitimate reasons for recalling stuff.

  12. NS July 3, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I used to own a racing car. The guy who built it, in the bill of sale guaranteed that it would, if operating normally, and used as designed, eventually kill the user. None of his cars ever has, to the best of my knowledge, yet he’s never been sued…

    Food for thought there…

  13. J.T. Wenting July 3, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    wearing shoes is in itself hazardous. The soles could get slippery, causing you to fall, break an ankle, and be run over by a passing truck while you’re trying to crawl to safety.
    Or a strap could snap, with the same effect.

  14. Taradlion July 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I was just talking about the recall of Maclaren strollers several years ago. Recalled because the baby’s fingers could get pinched…IF THEIR FINGERS WERE IN THE MECHANISM WHILE FOLDING the stroller…just like most umbrella strollers, umbrellas, hinged cabinets and doors, drawers, automatic car windows….Really? So a parent or caregiver would have to close the stroller with the baby’s fingers in the way, but they sent out thousands of “repair kits” (covers) and now manufacture the strollers with plastic covered hinges….

    So I assume kids shoes can’t have buckles?

    When my kids were little, I would give them small objects (coins, tiny ladybug figurines, rubber balls) while changing their diaper. They loved to hold them and I told them “not for your mouth”…if they put it up to their mouthes, I would take it away (sad baby!). I figured there was NO way to ensure they would never find a coin or small object in the floor (I was careful at my own house, but elsewhere…and with my son I was concerned about parts of toys from my older daughter). I wanted them to see and hold small objects and teach them not to eat them, rather than assume I could prevent them from ever finding one.

  15. Meagan July 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Growing up, the only thing I ever choked on was an ice cube. Luckily, ice melts. I don’t see ice being banned.

    It’s recalls like this that make me not pay attention to CPSC recalls. The few important ones get lost in the noise of these nuisance recalls.

  16. Carrie July 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    I had a friend over one day and our kids were playing when she remarked: “Oooh, I wouldn’t use that Radio Flyer sit-on scooter anymore, I saw it got recalled.” I looked online and sure enough, it got recalled because although it is only 8 inches off the ground AND has a handle, a “child could fall off and get injured.” Needless to say, we not only kept it, my daughter tore around on it gleefully for 2 years until this past week when I gave it to another friend for her son.I made her fully aware of the past recall. Much to my happiness, she laughed and handed it over to him. Kids who don’t play don’t get hurt. But what kind of childhood is that?

  17. Michelle July 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    When I was little, I choked on a piece of chicken. My grandfather had to do the Heimlich maneuver on me. Quick, recall all the chicken!

  18. Havva July 3, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    @ Taradilion,
    My husband and I did the exact same thing of giving small objects while doing a diaper change as a teaching exercise. We were inspired by a very patient daycare worker who let her play with a bit of bark one day. It would inevitably go to the mouth and Miss Margaret would pushed her hand down saying “no mouth” until it stuck. The daycare also has “yuck buckets” and anything caught going in the mouth, or anything slimy had to be surrendered to the “yuck bucket.”

    So we started giving her small things and telling her “no mouth”/ or taking it away until it stuck. My daughter mostly quit putting random objects in her mouth by the time she was a year old. At two she started saying “only food and forks go in the mouth.” And even though she pretends to eat toy food with toy silverware, she never actually puts any of it in her mouth. I didn’t really think about it until she cried about her cousin (just days younger) sobering on her tea set.

  19. Taradlion July 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Love the yuck bucket!

  20. Warren July 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    People can choke on their own tongue, or vomit, best recall all humans, while we are at it.

  21. Rachel July 3, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    We should ban shoes, because kids could throw them at another kid’s head, resulting in concussion, subdural hematoma, and death. Then, since kids are barefoot, we will carry them around anytime they are outdoors until they turn 21, which will both reduce the amount of time kids spend out in the dangerous world, and ensure that no child is ever alone. Ever.

  22. Alan July 3, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    @Meagan, et al, I was wondering if this was a CPSC recall, in which case, we shouldn’t be ragging on the manufacturer, but our government’s inane policies.

  23. rebecca July 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    I guess they’ll just have to run around naked… oh that’s not good ….the 100,00,00, of predators will get them, and of course the sun screen costs would be exorbitant….

  24. Natalie July 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    This just made my day. My week. My year.

    I’ve mentioned a few (hundred) times here that I like to encourage girls to get into STEM careers. There was a Kickstarter (by a female engineer) for a toy targeted specifically for girls called Goldieblox.

    The Goldieblox Kickstarter got funded and due to the overwhelming popularity, Toys R’ Us is stocking their shelves with it.

    The video accompanying the announcement that Toys R’ Us would be distributing it would make any free-ranger happy, if you can overlook the irritating rendition of Queen.

    Here is the original Kickstarter video for those who are interested.

    It’s got small parts, so… choking hazards. – not completely off-topic.

  25. JaneW July 3, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    You know, every now and then, there is a product recall that makes sense. For example, last year, a fan was recalled because it had a short circuit that could cause it to catch fire. This is a real problem, and anyone who bought the fan needed to know. But all the stupid recalls make it tough to publicize the handful of actual-danger recalls.

    The recall standard should be, “Product is defective/mislabeled in a way that could cause serious injury or death under normal use.” Not, “Product could possibly cause harm if severely MISused.” Not, “Someone was injured using product in a freak accident which is unlikely to be repeated.”

  26. S July 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    Why would the flowers even come off? Just sew them on a little tighter if they really seem that loose AND there is someone in the house who might try to eat them. Or just shut the closet door.

  27. EricS July 3, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    This is just another fact and proof that many parents or adults these days have become ignorant, fearful, and completely with lack of common sense. Not only do they base their fears on their own needs and convenience. ie. they’ll fear one thing one day, then not fear it another because it puts them in an inconvenient position. So they (as they should have originally done) take a risk based on that thought process. They make compromises by weighing probables and possibles.

    And the most ironic part about thing about being “extremely vigilant”, is that there is no amount of vigilance that will 100% guarantee the safety of children. And that teaching your children how to protect and keep themselves safe, is far more effective than sheltering them from almost everything parents fear. It’s also extremely beneficial to kids as they grow older in life.

    It’s all about common sense and logic. If only people allow their fears to be overcome by these two simple things.

  28. Gina July 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    My favorite recall is the one that focused on Infant Carriers a few years ago. If the handle wasn’t properly locked (LOCK IT!!) and the baby wasn’t strapped in (STRAP IN THE BABY!!) it could tilt while being carried and the baby would fall out. Total parental stupidity is the reason for this danger….fear of lawsuits that were winnable was is the reason for the recall. Because juries don’t believe in personal responsibility…

  29. Virginia July 3, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    Reality check: The sandals are being recalled because they are defective — the flower tends to pop right off, which is unacceptable for a quality brand of shoes regardless of any possible choking hazard. See Amazon reviews here:

    Also, the recall information regarding the sizing is incorrect. The sandals were not sold in girls’ sizes 8.5-10, but in toddler sizes. Toddler sizes 8.5 – 10 are intended to fit children between about 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 years old:

    And big-footed kids like mine could easily be in a toddler size 8.5 before their second birthday.

    Bottom line: The recall is not nearly as ridiculous as it is made to sound here, and I am grateful to Stride-Rite for admitting that these sandals weren’t up to their standards.

  30. Donna July 3, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    If a product is not up to standards, you stop selling the product or make it better. You don’t recall it as a choking hazard.

    2.5 – 3.5 year old kids (although mine was still in 10s at 5 so I don’t agree with your age breakdown) should still be beyond putting their shoes in their mouth or picking up random items off the floor and putting them in their mouths.

  31. Emily July 4, 2013 at 12:07 am #

    @Virginia–I agree, the recall could very well be because these sandals aren’t good quality, since the flower pops off so easily. However, I think the fact that they’re using “child safety” and “potential choking hazard” as the reason for the recall, is rather telling. See, if they had just said, “We messed up, and the shoes need to be recalled because the flowers aren’t attached firmly enough,” then the general public would think, “Stride Rite makes inferior shoes”; whereas, if they say, “We’re recalling the flower sandals because the flowers could pop off and children could choke on them, and YOUR CHILDREN’S SAFETY IS OUR TOP PRIORITY”; then people will think, “Stride Rite cares about child safety.” So, the “safety smokescreen” achieves two results in one. First, it shifts the focus away from the fact that Stride Rite made an inferior product (not saying they’re an inferior company; everyone makes mistakes sometimes), and onto child safety. Second, if Stride Rite recalls the flower sandals, and someone chooses not to return their child’s sandals, and the flower falls off, and the child chokes on it, and then that parent wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if they decided to pursue legal action against Stride Rite, because Stride Rite identified and publicized the danger, recalled the shoes, and offered people refunds or exchanges. Had they not done this, and a flower-choking lawsuit ensued (miniscule chance, but I suppose it could happen), then Stride Rite wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems like, when you’re trying to avoid a lawsuit, worst-first thinking is unfortunately the rule of the day.

  32. bmj2k July 4, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    People need to be educated on the choking danger of food. Everyday, billions of people put food in their mouths and invariably, someone, somewhere on the planet, one out of seven or so billion, will improperly chew their food and choke. So let’s recall all food as well.

    OK, I realize that putting food in your mouth is not the same as a kid putting this button in their mouth, but what makes this button different than a quarter, or a bottle cap, or a toy soldier, or any of the thousands of things we already tell kids not to put in their mouths? Oh yeah- this is ATTACHED TO A SHOE, that’s the difference, and the article makes no mention of this flower ever coming off a shoe.

  33. Donna July 4, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Actually Emily, I disagree completely.

    If Stride Right recalls the shoes because they are inferior, Stride Right gains respect as a company that doesn’t produce inferior shoes. It is so incensed by selling inferior shoes that it doesn’t even want them on the street and it wants everyone to know that these shoes are not up to standards. If you recall shoes because they are a choking hazard, you are saying “we don’t really care about the quality of our shoes but we don’t want to be sued if a kid chokes on the flower so we’re asking you not to use them anymore.”

    And no product is ever recalled just because it is inferior. I’ve yet to see a recall that simply says “hey we decided that this product just isn’t high enough quality.” I’ve bought many inferior products in my life and none of them have been recalled.

    I also think Stride Right is in a WORSE position legally if some kid chokes. They’ve admitted the shoes are unsafe. That part of the lawsuit is resolved in favor of the plaintiff before the kid even chokes. Shoes are not like cars which have registered owners. You buy them pretty anonymously. I hadn’t heard about this recall before Lenore posted it so I assume that there are MANY people who own these shoes and have no idea they’ve been recalled.

  34. Emily July 4, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    @Gina–I see your baby carrier that could be dangerous if improperly strapped/locked, and I raise you…..Inline Skating Barbie. Originally, they made this doll with skates that gave off sparks, until it was recalled, because some kid, somewhere, had sprayed a pair of underwear with hairspray, “skated” the doll over the underwear, and of course, the underwear caught fire. So, clearly, this was a “safety hazard,” because EVERYONE plays with their Barbie dolls that way, right? *sarcasm off.* Anyway, they didn’t entirely stop making the Inline Skating Barbie doll; they just re-released it sometime later, except they gave her glittery skates instead of “fire-hazard” skates.

    I’m kind of on the fence about this one. On the one hand, you’d think that the people at Mattel would be smart enough to realize that, if they make a toy that gives off sparks, then some pyromaniac kid, somewhere, is going to try to use said toy as a lighter. However, on the other hand, if your child starts fires, that’s not a Mattel problem; that’s a parenting problem. If you have a pyromaniac on your hands, then they’re going to be a pyromaniac whether or not they have access to a Barbie doll that shoots sparks from her shoes. There are still matches, lighters, magnifying glasses, sticks, stones, and of course, cooking appliances in the kitchen, and then there are fire-starters that are really meant as other things, like insect repellant, and, in this case, hairspray. None of those things can, or should, be recalled, because the majority of people use them properly and responsibly. The same applies to the Barbie doll–for most children, it wouldn’t occur to them to use the doll to try to start fires, so it seems a shame to eradicate it because one child did, and that child’s parents complained.

    Also, around the same time, Crayola came out with their first line of scented crayons, with scents like bubble gum, chocolate, mint, and various fruit flavours. Well, kids started eating the crayons, so Crayola recalled them, and changed them to non-food scents–so, “mint” became “grass,” and “chocolate” became “dirt,” and “bubble gum” became “soap,” and “cherry” became “new car.” I don’t remember all the scents, because I didn’t replace my crayons–I liked the food-scented ones, and at that point, since I was old enough to read an article about a recall in the newspaper, I was plenty old enough to be able to distinguish art supplies from food. Actually, at the time, my first thought was, “Kids ate crayons before they smelled like candy, so why is this a big deal now?” It’s just like the Barbie example, except less extreme. If you have a child who eats crayons, then that’s a parenting problem. Yes, it’s a normal developmental phase for kids to put things in their mouths, but most kids outgrow it by the time they become old enough to be interested in drawing. If you (general you) give crayons to infants, then you’re misusing them, because crayons aren’t meant for infants. If you have a preschool, kindergarten, or even school-aged child who still eats crayons, or puts things in their mouth, then that’s a problem too, because the child should have already been taught not to do that. If you have a child with special needs, and you know that they can’t be taught not to put things in their mouths, or start fires with a Barbie doll (or whatever spark-producing object is available), then you keep those items away from that specific child, rather than lobbying to have them banished from the face of the Earth.

  35. K July 4, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    I don’t think this is a problem with overprotective parents. It’s a problem with greedy lawsuit crazy lawyers. THAT’s why we see recalls like this. Because its cheaper for stride rite to recall the shoes, knowing that most customers will ignore it, to cover their butts.

    If my daughter had these shoes, I would ignore the recall. She’s six and wears a toddler size 11.

  36. K July 4, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    And just to point out, Lululemon recalled yoga pants because they were inferior/too thin. Nothing dangerous about seeing someone else’s asana in the middle of downward facing dog, but recalled just the same.

  37. Christopher Byrne July 4, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Yes to all of this. However, since the courts have a precedent of nullifying assumption of risk in the purchase and for holding manufacturers responsible for unforeseen use, companies must take this tack to preserve themselves. Stride Rite is not the problem. The problem is a litigious society that sees dollar signs in the potential for danger and consumers who have profited from settlements that are cheaper than court cases. Stride Rite protects itself through this, and while I agree with all the stupidity of worst-first thinking, I can’t blame them. They have to mitigate potential damage from someone who COULD be hurt IF something happened.

    I worked for a company that chose to prosecute someone bringing an injury case for a defective product. Turns out mom had broken the product and had the child put the broken piece in her mouth specifically to try to get a settlement.

    That was the worst, but it was not uncommon, and it is not uncommon in today’s world. When injury is a profitable business, people are going to try to profit by it. Public companies, especially, have an obligation to shareholders to protect themselves.

    As idiotic as the recall may seem, and it certainly does to a guy whose parents’ response to a toy injury was, “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you read instructions? Don’t you have the sense god gave a plant?” it’s a reality today.

    The best way to protect kids? Educate them, teach them to read and follow instructions and try, as much as possible, to give them slightly more common sense than most flora.

  38. Heavy Sigh July 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Every keyboard in America is now illegal.

  39. Papilio July 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    Where I live, this kind of situations with sue-happy people are commonly referred to as “Amerikaanse toestanden” *. When I looked that up to see if someone had translated that to English, I found a article by an insurance company that explained that 1) we only hear about those very idiotic examples because they’re rare, even (:) ) in America, and 2) people kind of have to sue the manufacturer of that merry-go-round because they’re not insured and this is the only way to get those medical bills covered.
    As a result, the general view of what happened shifts from ‘shit happens’ to ‘someone needs to be blamed (read: pay for this)’.
    Would that be about right?

    *The translation would be something like ‘American conditions’, to which I should add that the phrase *sigh* + “wat een toestand (‘what a condition’)” is comparable to *sigh* + “oh dear” / “good Lord” / “what a mess” etc, and perhaps also “oy vay”?

  40. Donna July 4, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    No, the problem is that people view litigiousness much like they view child kidnapping – it is treated as if stupid lawsuits happen every 5 seconds when they are actually very rare and that is why we hear about them in the press.

  41. pentamom July 4, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    I think I had kids of at least 8 in size 10’s. Granted, that’s not typical.

  42. Virginia July 4, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    Donna, are you seriously arguing that the fact that your child was wearing toddler size 10 shoes at age 5 means that *no* child young enough to randomly put things in their mouths would *ever* be wearing toddler size 8.5? I see some interesting arguments here regarding the necessity of recalling these sandals as a safety hazard vs. defective merchandise — but the fact that your children had small feet does not mean that there are no toddlers with large feet.

  43. Donna July 4, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Virginia – Nope, can’t say that I made that argument in the least. I simply said that your 2.5 – 3.5 range was too small.

    YOU stated that these shoes were designed for kids 2.5 to 3.5. I said that that particular age range is well beyond the age where kids are putting their shoes in their mouth. I actually believe that a manufacturer can design a product for 2.5 – 3.5 year olds and not have to recall it as a safety hazard if it proves potentially unsafe for a very small number of 1 year olds with very large feet.

    And Stride Right obviously did intend these shoes for a more mature child since they didn’t make them available in sizes much more closely correlated with young toddlers who are still putting things in their mouth, although they do make shoes in those sizes. They only made them available in sizes commonly worn by preschool age children who should be far beyond shoe eating.

    See people have to take personal responsibility for their own choices and personal circumstances. If you happen to have a child who is still putting her shoes in her mouth while in size 8.5, you should realize that these are probably not the best shoes for you even without the recall as any attached items are not prudent at that stage and buy something else. You shouldn’t expect the designers and manufacturers to “dumb down” their items to suit your needs.

  44. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Are litigation suits rare in that they aren’t filed? Or in that they actually go to trial? I have a physician friend who pays a ton in malpractice insurance and she has gotten sued several times. But nothing made it to trial, which keeps her insurance at a lower rate. But she feels like she’s walking around with a bulls-eye painted on her. Malpractice suits also drive up the cost of healthcare.

    So it’s not like this in the marketplace as well?

  45. Emily July 5, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    >>See people have to take personal responsibility for their own choices and personal circumstances. If you happen to have a child who is still putting her shoes in her mouth while in size 8.5, you should realize that these are probably not the best shoes for you even without the recall as any attached items are not prudent at that stage and buy something else. You shouldn’t expect the designers and manufacturers to “dumb down” their items to suit your needs.<<

    @Donna–This, exactly. If you have a child who puts things in his or her mouth that aren't food, don't buy your child anything with attached pieces that could potentially become detached. If you have a child who draws on the walls, don't buy your child permanent markers. If you have a child who likes to start fires, don't buy a toy that shoots sparks (okay, maybe that one should have been recalled). But, you hit the nail squarely on the head–if everything that ever caused harm to anyone, ever, was recalled, regardless of whether or not that person was using the item properly, well, then, we'd be living in a blank, empty world, like an old-school GAP commercial, except without the music and dancing, because dancing leads to injuries, and injuries lead to lawsuits.

  46. Donna July 5, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Natalie – I said that STUPID lawsuits are rare. Lawsuits are quite common. I don’t know if the lawsuits against your friend were stupid or not, nor do you since I highly doubt you interview the other side of the lawsuit before deciding. They could have been ridiculous or they could have been the result of an actual mistake on the part of your friend. But, yes, trial is extremely rare – a very small number of lawsuits actually make it to trial. The judge I worked in front of in Georgia tried 2 or 3 civil cases in 15 years.

    What people fail to realize is that many lawsuits are a result of the US’s highly specialized insurance scheme. We have separate insurance to cover every different thing. All of them are for-profit businesses and lose money every time they have to pay a claim so none of them want to pay and are always looking for another responsible party.

    Say my kid sneaks into your yard when you are not home, falls off your monkey bars and breaks her arm. Under the law, you are legally responsible for accidents that occur on your property, but this is a trespasser situation so the law is more murky. Now my personal choice would be to take her to the hospital, use my health insurance and forget about it. However, my health insurance is not a fan of that idea and is going to try to hunt up anyone else that may be liable for the money. It is going to call me and grill me about this accident and may ultimately claim against your homeowners’ insurance to recoop its money, insisting that monkey bars are an attractive nuisance for kids (this will likely depend on the amount of medical bills v cost of lawsuit). Your insurance company isn’t going to pay because my kid was a trespasser. A lawsuit will eventually be filed. This lawsuit will be in my name, as though I am suing you, and will name you, not your insurance company, as defendant. On paper this lawsuit looks absolutely ridiculous – like I am personally suing you for a fall off monkey bars at your house when my kid was a trespasser on the property. In actuality, it is just a pissing contest between two insurance companies and has nothing to do with either of us.

  47. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #


  48. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    Hey! I like those GAP commercials!

  49. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    So are you saying I should get insurance if I have a swing set? It sounds like that if there’s an accident, someone’s health insurance will want us to pay? I remember a friend telling me they bought insurance just for that. But I thought that it was to protect themselves against the parents who would sue them. I trust the people we’re friends with not to sue (maybe naively) but if this is common among insurance companies, it seems risky not to.

    These insurance companies are making a lot of business for themselves by operating this way.

  50. Donna July 5, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Natalie – Swing sets should be covered under your homeowner’s insurance. Pools, and sometimes trampolines, require an additional rider on homeowners policies but not usually swing sets.

    The truth is that you absolutely are 100% legally responsible if someone hurts themselves on your property. It is the nature of the law and the insurance industry. It is not a personal affront to you. It is not your friends being greedy. YOU are the rightful person to pay for these injuries, not the person’s health insurance. This is why you buy honeowner’s insurance. Now if your friends are suing you for millions of dollars in pain and suffering, you may need new friends.

  51. Natalie July 5, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks for the free legal advice. If you find yourself in the Boston area, I’ll take you and your daughter out to lunch.

  52. Tomas July 5, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Market opportunity!

    Child-proof children’s shoes!

    Your kid will not be able to take them apart, let alone unbuckle! Discard if nicked, scratched, soiled, or otherwise accidentally damaged.

    Plus, have a childproof shoe locker professionally installed in your house for all those unsafe adult shoes!

    Safety – the most successful sales word of the 20th century.

  53. Jim Collins July 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Well put Donna. I was involved in a lawsuit because a machine that I helped design severed three fingers on a man’s hand. It didn’t matter that he removed or disabled four safety devices that were put there to prevent that from happening. Doctors were able to re-attach the fingers, but, that came to a large medical bill that an insurance company didn’t want to pay. Their first lawsuit put the company that the man worked for out of business and then they came after the company that I worked for since they didn’t get enough money out of the first company. What bothered me was that the company that I worked for settled out of court for a large sum of money. We were not negligent, nor did we have a bad design, the bean counters figured that it would cost more money to fight it than what they were asking for. That’s why you see a lot of what appears to be “stupid” lawsuits filed, but, very few actually make it to trial.

  54. bmommyx2 July 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I have discovered that most recalls are just a joke

  55. J.T. Wenting July 5, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    and that’s why innovation and by now all of society in the US is dead.
    Everyone is so afraid of being sued for everything they own, and at the same time looking for excuses to sue others for everything they own (either themselves or through some insurance company they signed up with, same thing) that nobody is doing anything at all except for lawyers who’re constantly looking for new reasons to sue people.

  56. Jenna K. July 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

    My 10-year-old son said it best, “Someday someone is going to trip while walking and hurt themselves and then even walking will be against the law!”

  57. Papilio July 8, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    ^ Bahasa Indonesia?

  58. vas July 20, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    I second the motion to let the kids go barefoot more, at least there is no terrible sandal hazard, and not bootlace hazard.


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