Last month’s death of a toddler in Boring, Oregon, in Clackamas County, highlights in the most tragic way possible the importance of both safety awareness when adults are operating potentially dangerous equipment around children, and the need for manufacturers to consider safety in the design of their products.
According to The Oregonian, an 18-month-old girl died last month in Boring “when her father… accidently ran over the girl as he was parking his tractor.” The injured Oregon child was evacuated by helicopter to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center but died a short time later.
According to the newspaper “police are not pursuing criminal charges against the father.” This horrific tragedy, however, contains several important lessons for us all. First, and most importantly, it is a reminder of how crucial it is for all adults to be aware of their environment at all times, but especially when operating machinery that has the potential to kill or injure a child. Farm equipment and lawnmowers spring immediately to mind when considering these issues – but they apply to many other household goods as well. There have been instances over the years of small children getting caught in washing machines or dryers. Refrigerators, especially older ones that may no longer be operational, also pose significant risks.
Saying that parents need to be aware of their surroundings on behalf of kids does not, however, exempt manufacturers from a responsibility to make their products as safe as possible. For example, it is reasonable to ask why riding mowers, like the one that appears to have been involved in the accident described here, do not always have reverse shut-off mechanisms. The installation of basic features such as these which have the potential to save a life should not be a subject of intense debate.
No Portland child injury attorney enjoys dealing with a case in involving the death of a child as the result of a poorly designed product. Such cases are sometimes, sadly, necessary, but the better approach is for adults and product manufacturers alike to be safety-conscious at all times.