ARCCA provided expert consultation in a case involving the asphyxiation of an infant placed in a stroller to sleep. ARCCA’s task was to assess the design of the stroller to determine if its design contributed to the infant’s asphyxiation. ARCCA discovered that the stroller incorporated a panel that had to be manually positioned whenever the stroller was adjusted into the flat bed mode in order to block the leg openings, which prevented the infant from sliding down through the openings. The mother of the infant was unaware of this panel and placed her infant in the stroller without the panel positioned to block the leg openings. The child slid down through one of the leg openings and his head became caught in the opening, resulting in asphyxiation.
ARCCA determined that this design was defective because it was not obvious that the panel was needed or that it even existed. There was no on-product warning about the panel, and the panel was not obvious to a user. ARCCA designed and fabricated a prototype modification to the stroller that prevented the stroller from being placed in the flat-bed position without first putting the panel into the required position. ARCCA opined that the product was defective because its design failed to conform with accepted safety engineering protocol, which states that a hazard should be eliminated by design, whenever possible, and that warnings should only be relied upon when the hazard cannot be sufficiently reduced through design. This stroller was later recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for this problem.