CALIFORNIA (KRON) – A jury has returned an $8 million verdict against baby product manufacturer Evenflo.
It was a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 7-month-old San Carlos girl.
KRON’s Maureen Kelly was there as the infant’s parents spoke out about it on Friday because they hope the verdict will save the lives of other babies.
“It means that maybe it won’t happen to someone else,” mother Tiffany Karow said.
Seventh-month-old Abby Karow died almost six years ago after being placed face down in an Evenflo BabyGo playpen, like the one at her former Redwood City daycare. The parents were told Abby died from sudden infant death syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS even though she had none of the risk factors.
On Thursday, the jury placed the blame on the mattress cover.
“If the baby is put down on that, then that baby can not breathe through that,” attorney Joseph Carcione Jr. said.
The couple’s lawyer took the Evenflo BabyGo mattress pad along with nearly 20 others types to a lab to test the breathability of the fabrics and found that the mattress pad fabric that Abby had been laid down on registered very low in comparison to some other brands.
“The meter that measures the air was literally at the same zeroed out reading for this mattress pad fabric as it would be for a plastic bag,” father Dave Karow said.
The couple and their lawyer said there are no regulations over the breathability of portable crib mattress covers, and they hope that will change with this lawsuit.
“You buy stuff at the store because it’s at the store, and it’s made for babies, and we think it’s safe, and you don’t think that putting a baby down on its stomach or on its back or on its side is going to kill your kid,” Tiffany said. And it did.”
“To have a product that a baby can’t breathe through is absurd,” Carcione said.
Evenflo maintains that the coroner determined that Abby died from SIDS and had nothing to do with the playpen she happened to be in at the time of her death.
The company said it is extremely disappointed with the jury’s decision and are considering an appeal.
Here is Evenflo’s full response to KRON.
The death of child is heartbreaking and Evenflo has the deepest sympathy for the Karow family’s tragic loss. We remain in agreement with all of the treating medical providers who concluded that Abby’s death was the result of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Evenflo stands behind the design of its playyard mattress pad and remains confident it was not the cause of her tragic death. We are extremely disappointed with the verdict of the jury and are considering all options, including an appeal.
Protecting children has been our core mission at Evenflo for nearly a century and our products have been, and will continue to be, designed, manufactured and tested with child safety as our top priority.
William J. Gross
Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Evenflo Company, Inc.
Pass Abby’s Law: http://www.passabbyslaw.com