The Instant Pot pressure cooker craze that has swept the nation in recent years has inspired a multitude of manufacturers to cash in on the trend by making their own models.
Unfortunately, in the rush to market, it seems that some pressure cooker models weren’t properly designed or manufactured, leaving unsuspecting consumers at risk of burns and other injuries. As we have seen in the past, many of the victims of pressure cooker malfunctions are children.
Late last summer, an Idaho toddler was severely burned when the Sunday dinner his mother was cooking erupted from the pressure cooker, showering the 2-year-old with scalding hot liquid and food.
The accident left the child with severe burns that caused the skin on his head, face and upper body to fall off in patches.
Just weeks after that horrific pressure cooker accident, the family of a 5-year-old girl who was severely burned on most of her body when the lid blew off of her grandmother’s pressure cooker settled a personal injury lawsuit with the manufacturer for $26 million.
In that case, Samantha Gonzalez, who was 2 years old at the time of the accident, was covered in scalding hot liquid when the lid burst off a Vasconia brand manual pressure cooker made by Lifetime Brands.
Samantha’s extensive burns were so severe that an infection set in, causing her to undergo an amputation of her leg, hip, foot, and the fingers on both her hands. She spent a year in the hospital recovering from the pressure cooker burns and will need specialized medical care for the rest of her life.
According to the Florida Record, investigators at first couldn’t find any defect on the pressure cooker that would have caused such a horrific accident. It wasn’t until they found an older version of the same Vasconia brand pressure cooker model on eBay that the problem was discovered. A close examination of the pressure cooker found the locking mechanism was smaller on the older pressure cookers than it was on the newer pressure cookers.
At some point, the lawyers found, the manufacturer recognized the danger and changed the size of the locking mechanism yet failed to tell owners of the older models about the defect.
Lawyers involved in the case indicate that as many as 100,000 consumers may still be at risk of similar accidents. That’s how many of the old Vasconia pressure cookers with the smaller locking mechanisms they estimate remain on the secondary market and in homes.
The company has never recalled the older pressure cookers, but lawyers hope their findings in the case will motivate the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to force a recall if the manufacturer won’t initiate one voluntarily.