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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Parents Say Baby Monitor Strangled Child

VISTA, Calif. (CN) - A year-old girl strangled to death on the cord of a baby monitor her parents bought at Babies R Us, the mom and dad say in a sad complaint.

Traci and Steven Porretta, parents of the late Vincenza Marie Porretta, sued Angelcare Monitors, of Canada, and Toys-R-Us, in Superior Court.

The Porrettas say Angelcare markets its AC401-2P Deluxe Baby Monitor with promises that it will keep babies safe "so that parents could 'stop worrying while your baby sleeps.'"

The Porrettas bought the monitor at Babies "R" Us, a subsidiary of Toys-R-Us, to protect their infant twin daughters from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Steven Porretta says he followed the instructions in the manual when he installed the monitor in his daughters' room.

But "On November 10, 2011, at approximately 10:00 am, plaintiff Traci Porretta entered her daughters' room to check on them a second time that morning and was horrified to find her daughter decedent Vincenza, in her crib with the cord from the subject monitor wrapped around her neck. Decedent Vincenza's skin was blue in color, and the cord was so tightly wrapped around her neck that despite plaintiff Traci Porretta's immediate action to untangle her daughter, she had great difficulty removing the cord," the complaint states.

The Porrettas rushed Vincenza to the emergency room, but she was "pronounced dead at 11:00 am."

"Visible ligature marks from the cord of the subject monitor were noted around decedent Vincenza's neck," the complaint states.

The parents say the Angelcare monitor has many defects, including no warning system to alert parents if their baby is playing with the cord, and a cord design "which allowed it to easily become entangled, constricted and tightened around the bodies and persons of the infants it was designed to protect."

They claim Angelcare knew about these problems but failed to fix them. And they claims that the company has known since 1981 that babies can die from ligature strangulation, but did not put warnings about the risks of "introducing cords into the crib or near the crib" on the monitor's packaging.

"As a direct and proximate result of plaintiff Traci Porretta observing this tragic fatal event which caused her daughter's death by asphyxiation, plaintiff suffered serious emotional distress and trauma ... and continues to suffer great anxiety, nervousness, depression, and severe emotional distress requiring treatment and counseling," the complaint states.

The Porrettas seek general, punitive, and exemplary damages for strict product liability, breach of express warranties, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and funeral and burial expenses.

They are represented by Brian Panish with Panish, Shea & Boyle, of Los Angeles.

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