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Pennsylvania Couple Sues Target After Wicker Trunk Leaves Toddler Severely Injured

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—a couple has filed a lawsuit against Target, alleging that the company improperly marketed a wicker trunk that they used as a toy chest. As a result, they maintain that their baby’s neck became trapped underneath the lid of the trunk, depriving her of oxygen, and leaving her in a persistent vegetative state.

According to the couple’s complaint, the girl’s mother, Laura Surman was preparing to leave for work when she discovered her 18-month-old daughter trapped beneath the lid of the wicker trunk. The lid had apparently collapsed on the baby and deprived her of oxygen to the brain resulting in spastic quadriplegia, severe psychomotor mental retardation and an inability to speak.

The family is seeking punitive damages and cites Target’s blatant disregard for safety. Specifically, the lawsuit argues that the trunk offered no resistance to support the lid in the upright position to prevent it from slamming shut. The family’s attorneys included in the complaint several customer reviews from Target’s website where other parents touted the trunk’s ability to work as a toy chest for young children. Additionally, the lawsuit also cites statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that show that at least 45 children have died of trunk lids falling and trapping them inside. Overall, the family’s attorneys maintain that Target should have either made the chest safe by adding the supports for the lid or labeled the product unsafe for use as a child’s toy box.

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  1. Kellie G. says:
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    I had heard this story a few days ago, and when I was at Target today I actually passed a whole shelf full of these whicker chests. Being a mother of an 18 month old myself, I was curious and actually lifted the lid. It is EXTREMELY heavy! For a chest at a child’s level to have a lid that heavy with no safety mechanism seems like a very dangerous oversight to me. My prayers go out to the family of the young girl who was injured. Though, I must add… I am extremely suprised that with this story being so public, that Target has not pulled this item from its shelves.