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Product liability suits might be in McDonald’s future

Pedometers, fitness watches and other wearable forms of health trackers all seem to be more popular than ever for California residents who are focused on their health. In an apparent effort to include children in this growing fitness trend, McDonald’s recently included activity trackers to their Happy Meals. Happy Meals are targeted at children, which might lead some to believe that the toys offered alongside the meal have all been vetted as safe and risk-free, but McDonald’s could soon be facing additional product liability complaints after their activity wristbands started causing serious harm.

About 29 million Step-It activity wristbands were distributed to children through Happy Meals before McDonald’s issued the voluntary recall. The fast-food chain received at least 70 complaints of injuries related to the wristband, most of which were related to burns or irritations on the skin. Seven of those complaints included blistering caused by the band.

One parent’s Facebook post went viral when she shared her son’s injury that she claims was caused by the activity tracker. In it, she wrote that her child wore the tracker for only about eight minutes, and when it was removed, his arm was left burned. In addition to the recall, McDonald’s has offered this parent and all others with the defective band a free yogurt tube, apple slices or replacement toy if they return it to any of its locations.

Product liability suits typically serve more than one purpose. While California consumers who have been wrongly injured by a defective product can achieve compensation to address their physical injuries and their long-lasting impacts, a successfully navigated suit can also benefit consumers at large. When companies are held accountable for their neglectful actions, it can help prevent future incidents in which other individuals might be harmed.

Source: CNN, “McDonald’s recalls Happy Meal fitness trackers after burns“, Aria Hangyu Chen, Aug. 23, 2016

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