Whalen Furniture to Pay $725,000 Civil Penalty for Failing to Report Defective Children's Beds

Jan 30, 2013, 17:05 ET from U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Toddler Died When Lid of Bed's Toy Chest Fell on Him

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Whalen Furniture Manufacturing Inc., d/b/a Bayside Furnishings, of San Diego, Calif., has agreed to pay a civil penalty of $725,000. The penalty agreement has been provisionally accepted by the Commission in a 3 to 0 vote.

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The settlement agreement resolves CPSC staff allegations that the firm knowingly failed to report to CPSC immediately, as required by federal law, a defect involving two models of its boat-style children's beds with toy chests.  The two models included LaJolla boat beds and Pirates of the Caribbean twin trundle beds. The beds include a toy chest with a 20 lb. lid.  The lid supports on the toy chests fail to prevent the lid from closing too quickly, posing an entrapment and strangulation hazard to young children. Whalen sold the defective children's beds between January 2006 and May 2008.

In November 2007, Whalen learned that a 22-month-old boy from Roseville, Calif. had died after the lid of a LaJolla bed's toy chest fell on the back of his head, entrapping his neck on the edge of the toy chest. The firm failed to report the death or hazard with its bed to CPSC until March 2008, after being contacted by agency staff and directed to do so.

CPSC and Whalen announced a recall of about 7,700 LaJolla boat beds and Pirates of the Caribbean twin trundle beds in July 2008. The beds were sold at Costco stores, furniture stores and online at Costco.com for between $700 and $1,000

Federal law requires manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to report to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule or any other rule, regulation, standard or ban enforced by CPSC. Federal law also bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.

In agreeing to this settlement, Whalen denies staff's allegations including, but not limited to, that the recalled beds contained a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or created a serious risk of injury or death. In addition, Whalen denies staff's allegations that it failed to timely notify the Commission, in accordance with Section 15(b) of the Consumer Product Safety Act.

CPSC is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products—such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals—contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, go online to: SaferProducts.gov, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing and speech impaired.  Consumers can obtain this news release and product safety information at www.cpsc.gov.

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SOURCE U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission