California mom Paige Kadella heard a strange crackling sound coming from her purse as she was traveling in the backseat of her father-in-law’s car with her 18-month-old daughter Ashlynn. When she bent over to investigate, her purse was engulfed in flames.
Her e-cigarette had exploded for unknown reasons and she seriously burned her hands as she frantically tried to put out the fire, screaming for her father-in-law to pull the car over.
But Ashlynn, who was strapped into a car seat, suffered the worst injuries. The fire had spread from Ms. Kadella’s purse to her daughter’s car seat, leaving the girl with third-degree chemical and thermal burn injuries that require multiple skin grafts. While Ashlynn’s burn injuries will eventually heal, they will never fully go away. Doctors say the disfigurement left by the burns will be permanent.
“It’s one thing when it happens to you but your child you know she was innocent,” Ms. Kadella told NBC News San Diego.
Ms. Kadella is now suing the e-cigarette shop where she bought the lithium-ion battery for her e-cigarette, over the September 2016 e-cigarette explosion. Her lawyer told NBC San Diego that explosions and the injuries they cause are a “huge problem in the e-cigarette industry.”
Her lawyer said that there are no regulations governing the safety of lithium-ion batteries, and warnings for consumers are inadequate, usually consisting of a sign next to the e-cigarette shop register or wall.
“We will eventually find out who it was that wholesaled the product and the manufacturer of the battery,” he told NBC News. “Everybody in the supply chain is accountable for this tragedy.”
Safety standards for lithium-ion batteries are completely voluntary, and with so many batteries being made by Chinese companies, which have notoriously low safety and manufacturing standards, it’s hard getting foreign-made batteries in compliance with U.S. standards.
The lack of regulations and weak warnings leave many consumers in the dark about the potential dangers e-cigarettes and their batteries pose.