Thursday, September 30, 2010

Car Seat Safety – Protecting Our Children

In Georgia, automobile accidents are the leading cause of death and injuries for children ages 1 to 12 years. The lack or improper use of car seats is a significant contributor to this sobering statistic. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 40% of children under 6 who die or suffer debilitating injuries in automobile accidents are unrestrained or improperly restrained; however, when car seats are used correctly they are 71% effective in preventing injury among infants and 54% effective with children ages 1-4.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion concerning the proper restraining methods and what is required by Georgia law.

According to Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 40-8-76.1):

•ALL children under the age of six, regardless of how tall they are, must ride in the backseat of a car. A child is safer in the back and farthest away from the force of an airbag. Remember that airbags are designed to save adults, and since they deploy with great force they can be fatal to children.

•Children under the age of six are required to be in either a car seat or a booster seat suitable for their age and height.

•If there is not a back seat in the vehicle (e.g., a truck) or if other restrained children are in the back seat, Georgia law permits a child under the age of six to sit in front if restrained in the proper car seat or booster.

NHTSA recommends the following as a guideline for child seat safety. These guidelines are stronger than the current requirements of the State of Georgia.

Furthermore, we highly recommend that, until your child is the proper size to use a standard safety belt, your child should use a safety seat equipped with a 5 point harness. A 5 point harness is comprised of straps or webbing that extend over your child’s hips, shoulders/collar bones, and between their legs. These types of safety restraints more evenly distribute the force during impact which could save your child’s life in a crash. Please view this video to see why simple shoulder harnesses may not be sufficient to protect your child.

Also, it is very important to make sure that a child’s car seat is properly installed. The majority of parents believe that their child’s car seat is properly installed, but research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 8 out of 10 car seats are installed incorrectly.

As a guide, when a car seat is properly installed one should not be able to move the car seat more than one inch in any direction. The seatbelt should be threaded through the car seat and completely latched. The shoulder strap should be pulled all the way out until it clicks and then should be fed back into column. This will ensure that the car seat does not fly forward in the event of an emergency stop or accident. For more information on how to properly install a car seat, you can watch this video.

The Macon attorneys, at the Studstill Firm, we feel that the saddest injury cases we handle are cases involving children. The statistics are appalling and very sad when you think about the number of children whose lives and limbs could have been saved if they were only properly restrained. If you are unsure whether your child or the child of a friend or loved one is being properly restrained or if the car seat is properly secured, you can also stop by your local fire station or health clinic for tips.

- In Macon, GA you can go to Bibb County Health Dept. located at 171 Emery Highway
- In Warner Robins, GA you can go to Houston Healthcare located at 233 North Houston Rd. Suite 140, D
- In Valdosta, GA you can go to the fire station located at 106 South Oak Street
- In Tifton, GA you can go to the health department located at 305 12th Street East

Go to for more locations across the nation.

For more information concerning car seat safety please visit,,, and You can also call 1-866-732-8243.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recalled Hip Implants

After complaints from several hundred patients and a warning letter from the FDA, Johnson & Johnson is recalling its popular metal-on-metal hip replacement mechanism known as the ASR XL Acetabular System. This product is made by DePuy Orthopaedics which is a division of Johnson & Johnson.

This product is being recalled due to its high failure rate which results in additional hip replacement surgeries to many patients. One such type of failure is that the implant does not properly adhere to the bone and becomes unattached. Another such failure is that over time metal particles slough off and the debris causes inflammation, tissue damage and extreme pain to an individual. There is also some research that indicates that the cobalt and chromium materials used in these implants can be toxic and may lead to certain cancers, including leukemia.

Of course, this recall comes in the wake of several other recalls by Johnson & Johnson – most notably Tylenol Children's liquid. The president of DePuy Orthopaedics said, “We are committed to assisting patients and health care providers by providing information through multiple channels and paying for the costs of doctor visits, tests and procedures associated with the recall.”

If you or anyone you know has been injured by a product such as the DePuy hip implant or any other defective product contact our Valdosta Attorneys for a free consultation about your potential case.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I was reading the recent news report of the Gainesville, GA church group that was on a missions trip in Kentucky last month when the church van was involved in a collision resulting in severe injuries to the passengers. These types of crashes involving large passenger vans of church groups and students are more common than you would think.

It is very common to see 15 passenger vans such as the Ford F-350 and others traveling on the nation’s highways and interstates carrying our most precious cargo – children. These vehicles most commonly transport baseball (or other sports) teams, church groups, day care students, boy/girl scouts and other similar groups. In fact, these types of vans are used by many private schools as the primary mode of transporting students on field trips or to extra-curricular events as they are much less expensive than actual school busses.

And little is thought about it by the parents or the adults in charge.

These vehicles do little to ensure the safety of its occupants. In fact they are among the most dangerous vehicles on the road. Specifically, the roll-over rate is extremely high in these types of vehicles. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) calculates that the vans overturn more than half the time they are involved in single-vehicle crashes. Additionally, more than half of the occupants of these vehicles are killed or receive incapacitating injuries.

The majority of the single-vehicle crashes involve tire safety issues. Additionally these types of vans are more likely to roll over with more passengers inside. This is largely due to the way the seats are positioned in the vehicle causing a high center of gravity.

The technology exists for other designs and features that would make these vehicles safer for passengers. Yet, the makers of these vehicles did not think these safety features were necessary – especially in the earlier models of these vehicles.

Please think long and hard before you allow your child to ride in one of these 15 passenger vans. Your child would be much safer if you considered alternative options.

More information on the dangers of these vehicles can be found at:,,, and many other sites.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt as a result of a vehicular roll-over incident or any other major motor vehicle collision, please contact us so that we can discuss your rights. Consultations are free.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nap Nanny Product Recall

Yesterday, the Consumer Products Safety Commission announced that Baby Matters, LLC is voluntarily recalling approximately 30,000 baby recliners following the death of a 4-month-old girl from Michigan. Baby Matters, LLC is aware of 22 total incidents involving this product. The Michigan girl died when she fell over the edge of her recliner and was pinned between the recliner and her crib bumper causing her to suffocate.

The product already has warning labels, stickers and other types of warnings indicating that the Nap Nanny should never be placed inside a crib, play yard or other confined area, or on a table, countertop or other elevated surface.

Proper Use: Always use the Nap Nanny on the floor away from any other products

INCORRECT USE: Photo of re-enactment of doll falling over side of Nap Nanny® placed in crib.

Baby Matters is offering an $80 discount coupon towards the purchase of a new Nap Nanny, with free shipping for owners of a first generation Nap Nanny (purchased before August 15, 2009 and identified by the absence of Velcro straps inside the cover).

Consumers with a second generation Nap Nanny model are being encouraged to stop using the product until they are able to visit the firm's website to obtain new product instructions and warnings as well as view an instructional video to help consumers ensure the harness is properly fastened.

If you or anyone you know has been injured by a product such as this or any other defective product, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

HR 5503 - the Spill Act

Today the US House of Representatives will vote on HR 5503, the Spill Act. This bill is the first step towards holding BP fully accountable for their actions. Please call your Representative RIGHT NOW and ask them to vote for HR 5503! Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Look-up your Rep at

-Learn more about the Spill Act at

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Product Recall - Shrek Promotional Glasses

Just weeks after Wal-Mart and other stores recalled jewelry sold at their stores due to the presence of cadmium, McDonalds is also recalling its promotional Shrek themed glasses for the same reason. These glasses are 16 ounces and come in four different designs (Shrek, Fiona, Puss n’ Boots, and Donkey).

Please see the May 20, 2010 post for details on the dangers of ingesting cadmium. You can also visit or

The CSPC spokesperson, Scott Wolfson, has stated that the amount of cadmium found in these glasses is “slightly above the protective level currently being developed by the agency.” He also said the glasses contain “far less cadmium than the children's metal jewelry that CPSC has previously recalled."

So far, no injuries have been reported as a result of the toxic chemical found in the paint on the glasses. However, out of an abundance of precaution, McDonalds has recommended that their customers stop using the glasses and is offering $3 refunds on those glasses. (They were originally sold for $2 each.)

If you or anyone you know has been injured by a product such as this or any other defective product, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Paxil & Birth Defects

Paxil is a popular antidepressant which has been on the market since 1992 and is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. It is used to treat people with depression, OCD, anxiety, PTSD, and PMDD as well as other similar conditions.

As with almost any anti-depressant, there is a long list of possible side effects associated with taking Paxil. One such potential side effect is birth defects if the drug is taken by a woman during pregnancy. Studies have shown that if Paxil is taken during the first trimester a baby is 1 ½ - 2 times more likely to be born with a heart defect (usually holes in the interior walls of the heart). Other studies have shown that if Paxil is taken any time after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, a baby may be born with persistent pulmonary hypertension (abnormal blood flow through the heart and lungs and thus insufficient oxygen to their bodies). This condition can lead to multiple organ failure, brain damage, developmental delays, neurological deficits and ultimately death.

For more information on how Paxil can affect a baby if taken during pregnancy, please visit this website or the FDA’s website. Also, please view the GlaxoSmithKline’s September 2005 letter to healthcare professionals on this matter.

If you, your baby or anyone you know has been injured by this or any other pharmaceutical product, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Baby Stroller Safety Risk

I was reading the June 2010 issue of the Consumer Reports magazine and came across something that parents with small children might like to know. Consumer Reports has rated three models of baby strollers as “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” – those strollers are:

- Valco Baby Tri-Mode
- Tike Tech City X3 all-terrain stroller
- Tike Tech X3 Port jogging stroller

These strollers received this rating due to the hazard of an unrestrained child slipping beneath the grab bar and getting stuck resulting in potential injury or death. (This is referred to as “submarining.”) Although the Consumer Products Safety Commission does not specify the particular strollers involved, they do report that there have been at least 10 infant deaths associated with submarining between 1995 and 2008.

Safety regulations require that if the space beneath the bar is large enough for a child’s body to pass through, it must also be large enough for the child’s head to pass through. Of course, a child should always be properly strapped into his or her stroller.

If your child or the child of anyone you know has been injured by a faulty product such as these or any other defective products, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Product recall: Miley Cyrus jewelry

Just yesterday, Wal-Mart announced that it was recalling its entire line of the popular Miley Cyrus brand of jewelry following reports that the jewelry contains a high level of cadmium – a toxic metal.

Long-term exposure to this metal is dangerous because it can cause bone softening and kidney failure and because it can hinder brain development. There is no danger in wearing the jewelry; however, it can be very dangerous if the metal is ingested. For example, many children place their jewelry/pendants in their mouth and suck and chew on them. This particular jewelry line, when exposed to a chemical similar to stomach acid, very easily released the toxic metal.

Exposure to this chemical is especially hazardous to girls ages 6-11. This may be because girls in this age range tend to have iron deficiencies and their bodies substitute cadmium instead.

Wal-Mart has also recalled some of its Disney pendants.

Claire’s and Dollar N More stores have also recalled some of the charm bracelets sold at their stores.

If you or anyone you know has been injured by a product such as this or any other defective product, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Product recall: "Auto Fire" toy target set

The below-pictured toy dart gun set has been recalled by Family Dollar Store in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) following the deaths of two children. The suction cups, which are smaller than the size of a penny, present an asphyxiation hazard. These defective toys can cause children to suffocate and suffer brain injuries and even death. The two children’s deaths were caused when the children placed the soft, pliable plastic toy dart in their mouths and breathed them into their airways.

The dart guns were manufactured in China and sold exclusively by Family Dollar Stores. Family Dollar Stores began selling the toy in September 2005 and stopped selling it in January 2009. The recall was just announced on May 17, 2010.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gardasil marketed towards boys as well as girls

Much controversy has surrounded the use of the new Gardasil vaccination in girls and young women. Now the drug is also being marketed towards boys and young men. Gardasil is a vaccine which aids in the protection against HPV (human papillomavirus), a sexually-transmitted disease which can cause genital warts in both males and females. The drug is administered to individuals between the ages of 9 and 26.

Of course, this drug was only introduced in 2006 and little is known about the long-term effects this drug can cause. Some possible serious side effects that have been experienced recently include:

- Gastroenteritis;
- Appendicitis;
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID);
- Asthma or bronchospasms (airway spasms);
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs;
- Seizures; and
- Guillain-Barré syndrome.

There have also been 49 reported deaths connected with the use of Gardasil according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

While Merck insists its products are safe for use by individuals between the ages of 9 and 26, we at the Studstill Firm, LLP encourage you to discuss the risks with your doctor or child’s doctor prior to using this product. If you or anyone you know has been injured by this or any other pharmaceutical product, contact us for a free consultation about your potential case.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Georgia Legislature Bans Texting While Driving

It’s a hot topic in the news these days – Texting While Driving, or TWD. After all, nearly every driver in the US owns or has regular access to a cell phone.

Even Oprah is using her platform to campaign against TWD / distracted driving. Oprah’s efforts against distracted driving have led to the designation of today, April 30, as National No Phone Zone Day. This morning, Oprah, together with Holly Robinson Peete, recorded her show at the Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech in Atlanta on this very topic. When this show airs (check your local listings), it will feature expert discussion on the dangers of distracted driving.

Just yesterday, both branches of the Georgia Legislature passed legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving. These bills are expected to become law effective July 1, 2010, pending the signature of Gov. Sonny Perdue.

The bills, HB 23 and SB 360 (also known as the “Caleb Sorohan Act”) provide that no person, regardless of age, may use a telecommunications device to read, write or send any text based communication while driving. In addition, no drivers under age 18 or with a learner’s permit or Class D driver’s license may use any wireless telecommunications device for any purpose while operating a motor vehicle, including phone calls.

Violation of these provisions may result in a fines of up to $150 (which may be doubled if a collision results), points on the driving record and suspension of the driver’s license.

Prior to this law, in Georgia, the only prohibition was on school bus drivers – they are prohibited from using cellular phones while driving if passengers are present.

I am sure we can all appreciate the efforts being made by the Georgia Legislature (as well as many of the other states who have passed similar legislation) to make our roads safer for everyone. However, it is not only the responsibility of our law makers to make the roads safer. Instruct your children and other teen drivers about safe driving practices, including but not limited to TWD. Helpful tools can be found at and as well as many other websites. You can also view many PSA’s such as this (caution: video footage may be graphic) or this. I am sure we all have a thing or two to learn from these sources as well.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Medical Malpractice Caps Video - The Nestlehutts

Sometime this month, it is expected that the Georgia Supreme Court will rule on the caps on damages in medical malpractice cases. The caps were put into place by the Georgia Legislature in 2005 and cap certain damages given to injured patients and their families by Georgia juries.

For more information, you can watch this video explaining the caps and detailing the case that is being decided by the Georgia Supreme Court.