A family in Riverside, California, is suing Target Corporation over a potty trainer, alleging the seat caused grave injuries to their toddler’s private area.
As the Press-Enterprise reported, the unnamed family filed the lawsuit Dec. 5 in Riverside County Superior Court, alleging the weePOD Basix potty trainer nearly severed their 3-year-old’s penis.
The family alleged Target Corporation knew the seat was dangerous, but it was sold to them anyway.Screenshot/Target
The unnamed toddler reportedly was using the potty training seat when he became stuck to the squishy polypropylene liner, ripping his genitalia nearly all the way around.
The family’s attorney, John Kristensen, said the little boy was rushed to the emergency room with “grotesque” injuries, in which doctors were forced to glue on the injured body part due to the sensitive nature of the skin being unsuitable for stitches.
Kristensen told the Press-Enterprise:
“People go to Target assuming the products they sell aren’t going to mutilate a toddler’s genitals. This kid’s scarred for life.”
Kristensen said the toddler’s prognosis is uncertain.
Press-Enterprise reported the family’s lawsuit cites another instance in which a child suffered similar injuries. In 2015, a mother in Virginia alleged her son’s penis was cut by a sharp edge on the bottom of the seat.Screenshot/Target
The manufacturer of the seat, Prince Lionheart, told the Press-Enterprise it had only recently received a copy of the lawsuit and thus was not able to provide comment, adding it had never been contacted by the family.
In a statement, Prince Lionheart CEO Kelly McConnell said:
The safety of children is our number-one priority. All of our products are tested by third-party accredited testing houses and either meet or exceed all applicable domestic and international standards.
The family contends Target was negligent in selling the seat and should’ve issued a product recall after multiple complaints from parents, including allegations the seat causes a rash.
Parents had previously taken to the Target website to warn consumers over the allegedly “toxic” potty trainer.
In a review left seven months ago, Kate wrote:
Beware! We have purchased three of these seats over the past three years. It wasn’t until recently that we realized the horrible rash my son has been suffering with daily on his bottom and thighs were a result of the toxic materials in this product. There are many others who have experienced the same thing. I wish Target (& other stores) would discontinue selling this. There are many, many children who have suffered greatly because of this product, but the company who produces it will not change the materials or take it off the market even knowing that kids are reacting horribly to it. My son has woken up with bloody pajamas and bloody sheets daily for three years because of a terribly itchy, terribly painful skin condition. Multiple pediatricians, dermatologists, and allergists were unable to properly diagnose his condition or find a cause until we connected the dots and realized his problems started the day we bought this. As soon as we stopped using it, his condition began to improve and continues to improve (we have seen no change in three years until now.) PLEASE DONT BUY THIS! I want to save another family from the suffering we have been through.
Melissa, also said the seat caused her son to get a rash:
This seemed like a good quality toilet seat. Comfy, secure, etc but it made my son break out in a rash on the back of his legs. After doing some internet searching I found out others had this problem as well.
One review bears the title “RASH RASH RASH”:
I have twin girls. We used this product as well as a training potty for 6 months. One of my twins had a slight rash on her bottom and down her legs for awhile. I thought the rash was a reaction to a new bubble bath soap or a sensitivity to the dry winter air. When we exclusively went to the “big” potty, with this weePOD Basix toliet seat, the rash started to get worse. The rash was so bad that it warranted a trip to our doctor who wasn’t sure what it was either. It wasn’t until I thought it might be the potty seat that was causing her rash that I started researching reviews. Raised red bumps. EXTREMELY itchy. Rash on bottom and back of legs. The seat was great with my other twin daughter. It’s light, easy for a child to put on the toilet themselves, and comfortable. She had no rash or any reaction to this seat. If you have a child that is like my twin with the rash — this is the worst toilet seat in the entire world. I would have never thought a training toilet seat that caused this severe of a rash on my daughter would be allowed on the market. We’ve tossed this seat in the trash about two weeks ago and the rash is almost completely cleared up.
Prince Lionheart posted a comment explaining the seat had been subjected to “rigorous third party testing to ensure safety and compliance to worldwide testing standards,” adding that less than less than .0027 percent of seats in use were found to cause skin sensitivities in children. The company recommended discontinuing use of the seat should any skin reaction occur.
On another review alleging the seat caused a rash, the company asked the poster to contact the company’s customer service line.
Jenna Reck, a spokesperson for Target, told the Press-Enterprise that Target was reviewing the family’s allegation:
We take product safety incredibly seriously, are committed to providing safe products to our guests and require our vendors to follow all product safety laws and CPSC guidelines for the products they sell at Target.
The family’s attorney said that due the severity of the toddler’s injuries, they are seeking “significant” damages.