Weighted blankets have become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. These blankets are typically filled with materials like glass beads or plastic pellets and can weigh anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds or more.
While many people find these blankets to be a helpful sleep aid, there are some risks associated with their use, including the risk of suffocation or asphyxiation. Asphyxiation is at the heart of a weighted blanket recall after four children became entrapped, and two died while using the blankets.
At Kherkher Garcia, LLP, our hearts go out to parents whose children are injured or killed due to a dangerous or defective product. Our product liability lawyers are passionate about helping families hold manufacturers accountable when they produce and distribute a dangerous product. If your family has been affected by the Pillowfort Weighted Blankets and have questions about the recall or your rights, contact us today for a free consultation.
Pillowfort Weighted Blanket Recall Details
In 2022, Target announced a recall of their Pillowfort Weighted Blankets. The blankets each weigh six pounds and have a removable cover. In the recall announcement, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) explained that the blankets are a hazard to young children, as they may become entrapped and suffocate. The blankets have a cover on them that zips up. Children may unzip the cover and crawl inside, creating a suffocation hazard.
Prior to the recall, Target received at least four complaints of children becoming entrapped in the blankets and/or covers. Sadly, two children – four and six years old – died from suffocation while using the blankets.
The blanket recall includes more than 200,000 blankets sold online and in Target Stores between 2018 and 2022. It is possible that consumers still have these blankets in their homes and may be unaware of the risk. Parents who identify the Pillowfort Weighted Blankets in their home should remove the blanket from use and contact Target immediately.
Target is offering consumers a full refund of the purchase price.
How to Identify the Recalled Blankets
Parents can identify the blankets included in the recall by the following item numbers:
- 097-02-0140 (Unicorn – White)
- 097-02-0148 (Space Navy)
- 097-02-0363 (Blue)
- 097-02-0364 (Gray)
- 097-02-1603 (Buffalo Plaid – Red)
- 097-02-3904 (Blue Constellation)
- 097-02-3905 (Unicorn – Pink)
The tag attached to the removable cover is printed with “Made in China”.
What is Asphyxiation?
Asphyxiation is a condition in which a person is deprived of oxygen, leading to suffocation and potentially death. Asphyxiation can occur in several ways, including:
- Strangulation: When the neck is compressed, cutting off the air supply to the lungs.
- Suffocation: When the air supply is cut off from the nose and mouth, such as from a plastic bag, pillow, or other object.
- Drowning: When water enters the lungs and displaces the oxygen that is necessary for breathing.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it prevents oxygen from being transported in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of asphyxiation can include shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, dizziness, and loss of consciousness. If asphyxiation is not treated promptly, it can lead to brain damage or death.
In the case of weighted blankets, the primary risk is suffocation.
The Dangers of Weighted Blankets
The risk of suffocation with weighted blankets primarily arises from the blanket’s weight and the potential for it to interfere with the person’s ability to breathe.
If a weighted blanket is too heavy or too large, it can create a situation where the person is unable to move or shift the blanket to allow for proper breathing. This is particularly dangerous for infants and young children, who may not have the strength or ability to move the blanket themselves.
Additionally, if the weighted blanket is placed over a person’s face or head, it can further restrict breathing and increase the risk of suffocation. For this reason, it’s important to never use a weighted blanket as a substitute for safe sleep practices, such as using a crib or bassinet for infants or sleeping in a well-ventilated room for adults.
How to Reduce the Risks of Weighted Blankets
To reduce the risk of suffocation with a weighted blanket, it’s important to choose a size and weight that is appropriate for the person using it. The blanket should also be used in a way that allows for proper breathing and movement, and it should never be placed over the person’s face or head. It’s also a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional before using a weighted blanket, particularly if the person has any underlying medical conditions that could increase the risk of suffocation or breathing difficulties.
Ways to Reduce the Risk of Infant Suffocation
Infant suffocation is a serious concern and there are several steps that parents and caregivers can take to reduce the risk of it occurring. Here are some tips:
- Back to Sleep: Always put your infant to sleep on their back. This is the safest sleeping position for infants and has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Use a Safe Sleep Surface: A safe sleep surface may be a crib, bassinet, or play yard that meets the safety standards set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
- Avoid Clutter: Keep soft objects and loose bedding out of the sleep area. This includes pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals, which can pose a suffocation risk if they cover the infant’s nose or mouth.
- Avoid Overheating: Dress your baby in lightweight clothing and use a light blanket if necessary, to prevent overheating and the risk of suffocation.
- Avoid Smoke: Exposure to cigarette smoke can increase the risk of SIDS and suffocation.
- Use a Pacifier: Using a pacifier at naptime and bedtime has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. But make sure to wait until breastfeeding is well-established before introducing a pacifier.
By following these guidelines, parents and caregivers can help reduce the risk of suffocation and create a safe sleep environment for their infant.
When to Call a Product Liability Lawyer
If your child has been injured as a result of a defective or dangerous product, you may have a valid product liability claim against the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product.
Product liability cases can be complex and often require a thorough investigation and analysis of the product, its design, and its manufacturing process. An experienced product liability lawyer can help you navigate the legal system, gather evidence, and build a strong case to recover damages for your child’s injuries and/or losses.
If you are unsure whether or not you have a product liability claim, you should consult with a lawyer who specializes in this area of law.
Get a Free Pillowfort Weighted Blanket Case Evaluation
What makes this recall so tragic is the fact that the products were designed and sold as a children’s product. No children’s product should ever cause harm, and certainly they should not be deadly.
At Kherkher Garcia, our team of personal injury lawyers has vast experience representing clients injured by dangerous or defective products. If your child was harmed or died as a result of a Pillowfort Weighted Blanket, we want to help you. You may be eligible to pursue compensation for your child’s injuries or death.
When you call Kherkher Garcia, we will listen to your questions and concerns and help you explore your legal rights and options for legal action. No family should suffer such a tragic loss due to a product that was poorly designed and/or manufactured. Let us help you fight for justice. To start your free case evaluation, call us at 713-333-1030.