We all care for safety, but when it comes to the safety of children, it’s a different story – rules are stricter and liabilities are more elaborate. Children’s products are considered the most unique products on the market and more difficult to insure.
There were 62,300 recorded injuries treated in the emergency department of hospitals in 2016 that were associated with the use of nursery products. Patients were younger than five. Seventy percent of these recorded injuries were related with the use of high chairs, strollers or carriages, cribs, mattresses, and infant carriers. Falls were the leading causes of injury.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission defines children’s product as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. This is determined by factors such as the product’s packaging, the manufacturer’s statement as to the intended use of the product, and how it is recognized by the consumers.
Why are children’s products more difficult to insure?
- While an adult typically has two to three years to file a lawsuit after an injury or property damage, the statute of limitations for children extends up to 18 years of age plus an additional two to three years.
- One cannot expect children to have the same judgment as adults when it comes to the use of the product. It is possible for children to not use their toys, garments, and accessories for their intended purpose.
- Waiver or release agreements may not be applicable and effective with children as most states do not accept children’s signatures as legally binding. Businesses cannot really have children acknowledge a product’s potential risks and accept such risks.
- After all, kids will be kids. This fact alone urges businesses that distribute children’s products to hold their safety standards to a higher degree.
What does this mean for businesses in terms of insurance?
Businesses that manufacture, import, or distribute children’s products must know which kind of insurance best fits for them. Product liability can usually be acquired as either occurrence-made or claims-made. In general, claims-made insurance policies are less expensive, and it is tempting for businesses, especially startups, to opt for the cheaper option for the perceived savings. However, purchasing the cheapest policy can be bad for the business.
Both types of policy protect a business against lawsuits if the policy is in force when the injury or damage occurs. For a claims-made policy to provide coverage, the occurrence or the incident and the claim must be done while the policy is in force. If a claim is filed after the policy expired, there will be no coverage. However, an occurrence-made policy can provide coverage even when the claim is filed after the policy expired, which makes it more suitable for children’s products as the statute of limitations is longer. Occurrence-based policies can protect distributors and their clients better. Most large retail chains do not accept claims-made insurance for children’s products as they are well aware of the weakness of such policies when it comes to children’s products.
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