Baby Injured by Hazardous Material on Stroller: How a Chemical Expert’s Detective Work Helped Solve the Mystery

TASA ID: 745


A young mother purchased a child stroller at a local mass merchandiser store in Indianapolis, Indiana, in early summer. Later that day she began walking with the baby in the stroller to bring her infant daughter to visit the child's grandparents about two miles away.  With the child safely strapped in the new stroller, she walked for about an hour, stopping twice to comfort her baby, who was crying and appearing uncomfortable.  When they arrived at the grandparents' house, the mother checked the baby's diaper to see if it was the cause of the crying; she noticed that the baby had red welts on her thigh and buttocks. The mother washed off the red areas, and then the mother and baby stayed overnight at the grandparents' house. The baby's condition worsened that night, and so the next morning, the mother took the child to the emergency room.  The baby had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her buttocks and thigh.  The doctors said they were chemical burns.  The mother then checked the stroller and found a thick green substance under the seating pad, as well as on top of the seating pad.  Over the next several months, the baby required several skin graft operations and endured long periods of painful recovery.  There were permanent scars left on the child.


The plaintiff's attorney filed a product liability suit against the manufacturer of the stroller.  A chemical consultant was retained by the attorney in order to investigate and determine what the green chemical substance was and to determine its hazardous nature.  The green substance was submitted to an analytical chemistry laboratory, which found the presence of an industrial cleaning chemical.  The cleaning chemical was researched by the consultant and found to be hazardous on direct skin contact.  The consultant then asked to see a list of the hazardous chemicals, along with their material safety data sheets (MSDS), that were used by the stroller manufacturer, either in manufacturing the stroller, or for any other operational use.  The review of the list of chemicals found that there were two cleaning materials in inventory at the manufacturer.  A review of the MSDS's of the two cleaning materials showed that both of them contained the green chemical substance that was found on the seat pad of the stroller.  And the MSDS of the green chemical substance confirmed that the chemical was, indeed, hazardous on direct contact with the skin.  The MSDS clearly identified the specific hazardous effects of direct skin contact asreddening of the skin, lesions, and possible serious burns.


The loop had been closed.  The expert found evidence that a chemical used in and around the stroller factory was the same chemical that was found on the stroller that had been used when the infant was injured, and that the chemical was known to be hazardous on direct contact with skin.

Shortly after the expert's report of opinion and deposition regarding the above findings, the defendant agreed to settle the case prior to trial.  The case settled in favor of the plaintiff. 

This article discusses issues of general interest and does not give any specific legal or business advice pertaining to any specific circumstances.  Before acting upon any of its information, you should obtain appropriate advice from a lawyer or other qualified professional.

This article may not be duplicated, altered, distributed, saved, incorporated into another document or website, or otherwise modified without the permission of TASA.

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