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Defective products can be much more dangerous than they seem

Every day, each of us uses or interacts with dozens of products that we’ve purchased. It is so common that most of us never even think about it. We are able to take for granted that the food we eat, the medicines we ingest and the gadgets we use will be safe and effective.

While there are certain products we treat differently because they come with inherent dangers (like chainsaws, for instance), most of the things we use are assumed to be harmless when working correctly. Unfortunately, when these products are defective, they can cause serious injury, permanent scarring or even death.

A recent recall of a defective product is a good example. The company Sunbeam Products just issued a recall of their Crock-Pot 6-Quart Express Multi-Cooker. The device has a digital display and looks like the electric pressure cookers that have become very popular in recent years. Indeed, pressure cooking is one of the available features on this product.

When functioning correctly, these newer pressure cookers are only supposed to pressurize if the device senses that the lid is completely locked in place. But according to news reports, the Sunbeam cooker will pressurize even if the lid isn’t fully locked. As a result, the lid can fly up/off under pressure, sending scalding liquid flying into the air.

At least 100 product owners have reported lid detachment problems during use, and nearly all suffered burn injuries. While some were relatively mild (first-degree burns), other users suffered second- and third- degree burns. These types of burns may leave permanent scars and nerve damage. In cases where serious burns cover much of the body, they can be fatal – often because of infections that occur on the damaged skin.

The recall covers nearly 1 million units that have been sold – primarily in the United States, but also in Canada. And even if you don’t happen to own this cooker, chances are good that you own something else that would be highly dangerous if it suffered from design or manufacturing defects. Therefore, it is a good idea to regularly check consumer advocacy websites for recall notifications. Staying aware could prevent serious injury to you or someone you love.