April 9, 2010
Recliners are popular upholstered chairs commonly found in middle class American homes, primarily in family rooms and areas where television is frequently viewed. These lounge chairs may be utilized in a typical chair position, that of upright seating. Or, through use of a lever or mechanism the chair may be reclined into a more horizontal position which lowers the chair back and raises a footrest, thus allowing the person sitting in the chair to vary seating from upright to supine. The occupant can often customize the degree of recline toward maximum personal comfort.
Lounge Chair/ Recliner Defects
Recent defects in manufacture and design of recliner chairs include:
- Defective parts or improper installation leading to tip over and injury associated with falls
- Heavily weighted footrest mechanism causing entrapment of head or other body parts between chair seat and closed footrest, inducing suffocation or strangulation
- Breaking or defective parts leading to collapse and causing lacerations, contusions, back injuries, head injuries, and other associated concerns
- Faulty hinges or lever mechanisms causing pinches, lacerations, and potential amputations
- Flammability due to failure to comply with fire safety standards for upholstered products
Since 1980, there have been at least eight deaths and several serious brain injuries in children due to defective recliner chairs. All of these children were 5 years old or younger and were unsupervised when these incidents occurred. They were climbing or playing on the leg rest of the chair and became trapped when their body weight forced the leg rest into the closed position.
Although lounge and recliner chairs are primarily manufactured for adult use, children are frequently injured or killed during use. About 1/3 of the approximately 87 million households in America have at least one reclining lounge chair in use.
Lounge Chair/ Recliner Recalls
- In 1996, Golden Chair and Allen Manufacturing jointly recalled 142,000 recliners because of risk for child entanglement, suffocation, and strangulation. Two children died and two were injured when their heads were clamped in the footrest mechanism of the chairs.
- Dick’s Sporting Goods recalled about 125,000 outdoor lounge chairs and recliners in 2007 when they received 19 reports from consumers regarding breaking plastic supports on the chairs. Seventeen people suffered lacerations and back injuries.
- Eighteen injuries were caused by Lane high-leg recliners recalled in 2003, including lacerations and broken bones. Over 600,000 of the chair owners were notified to obtain a repair kit to fix the pinching footrest associated with the injuries.