As parents, we trust that product lines sold in stores are safe for our children, but over the years there have been several lawsuits filed against companies such as Johnson & Johnson and The Honest Company, claiming otherwise.
On Thursday, a new lawsuit was filed against Babyganics, a popular “baby-safe” product line acquired by SC Johnson in July of this year that retails online and in stores like Target and Walgreens, by the mother of a boy who reportedly sustained severe chemical burns from using the brand’s “tear-free” shampoo.
According to the lawsuit, 2-year-old Hunter Jones was given a bath back in May 2015 by his mother, Theresa Jones and her friend, who used Babyganics Night Time Shampoo & Bodywash to wash his hair. Bubbles began to run down his face and into his eyes, causing him to cry. Theresa’s friend tried to flush his eyes out with water while the boy was screaming, but after removing him from the tub, they noticed that Hunter “kept his eyes closed and appeared to be wincing in pain.”
The next morning, Hunter still would not open his eyes and when attempting to open them, Theresa noticed they were extremely red. She took him to the emergency room, where he was prescribed strong steroids, Motrin, and drops for his eyes. As the week continued, his pain and symptoms reportedly worsened and eventually a surgeon determined that he had “bilateral chemical burns” from the shampoo that covered 90% of the surface of his corneas.
“Hunter suffered debilitating pain, could not open his eyes for nearly a week and, according to his treating physician, will now face the specter of lifelong problems with his eyes,” reads the lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California County of San Diego.
The lawsuit claims that the company was aware of various complaints “posted on various public forums,” and that “Babyganics’ corporate representatives even responded to some of the posts confirming their knowledge of the problem,” but “failed to take any measures to correct the defects with their shampoo or warn children and their families about the potential dangers of using it.”
“Babyganics represents to the world that this product is 100% safe to use with our children, perhaps the most vulnerable members of our society,” Theresa’s attorney Robert Glassman told Babble in an exclusive statement.
“Not only did this company fail to meet its own ‘baby-safe standards’ for this product, it also did nothing to rectify the harmful defects after it was made aware of its danger to our children through dozens of consumer complaints long before Hunter was severely injured. It’s unacceptable, a classic case of a big company putting profits over safety and we intend to hold them fully accountable.”
Adds Theresa’s other attorney Rahul Ravipudi:
“Babyganics fraudulently markets its shampoo as organic and 100% safe for use with babies so that it can charge more and profit more, knowing that babies are the collateral damage of its misconduct. The company continues to sell its harmful products and Hunter is the latest victim. We intend to hold Babyganics fully accountable so that no parent or child will suffer as a result of using this product.”
“I can’t tell you how devastating it is as a mother to know that I used a product that created irreparable damage to my son’s eyes,” Theresa tells Babble.
“I was led to believe that this ‘tear free’ shampoo was natural and safe and I spent more money on it because of it. This product is not safe. Hunter will suffer for the rest of his life with vision issues and it’s made all the more tragic because Babyganics knows this product was defective and it never should have been sold – and yet they still haven’t taken it off the market.”
We reached out to Babyganics for comment and they issued us the following exclusive statement:
“We have been made aware by the media that a customer is pursuing legal action against Babyganics. We have not received the claim, and since this could be ongoing litigation, it would be inappropriate to comment. We were aware of the situation and had been working with the customer to understand and resolve the matter. The trust and support of our loyal fans is paramount to us. Rest assured, our focus will continue to be on developing great products.”
This is the second lawsuit the company has been slapped with this week. The first, a class action lawsuit filed in the New York Federal Court for False Marketing Practices on Wednesday by consumers in California and New York, claims the brand deceptively uses “harmful” ingredients that are not organic. One of the plaintiffs in the case felt deceived by the marketing, paying more for the products than they are worth, while the other claims her son suffered a skin rash from the sunscreen.
As a consumer, I have been using Babyganics products for several years. In fact, the same bottle of shampoo is sitting in my children’s bathroom, which I have used to wash their skin and hair on numerous occasions, without inflicting any tears or discomfort on either of them.
As a mother, my heart goes out to Hunter and his family, because no child should ever have to suffer pain like this. I cannot imagine how upset I would be if I was in Theresa’s shoes and my child’s eyesight was damaged for life.
Will I stop using Babyganics products because of these lawsuits? Probably not, as I have never encountered any problems with the brand and I know many other parents who haven’t either. If indeed it is found that the company is using “harmful ingredients,” then I might rethink it, but I think it is unfair to make a decision until there is a final verdict.
Ultimately, you have to follow your gut and do what you believe is best for your family, but this is a definite reminder that just because a product is on the shelf, doesn’t mean that it is completely safe. If you are unsure about certain ingredients, do your research or speak with your doctor.More On