A court has ruled that a shopkeeper was partly liable for injuries suffered by a toddler who drank caustic soda in his store.
The two-year-old’s mother had taken him into the shop where he was able to pick up a bottle of caustic soda, open it and drink from it while still sitting in his pushchair.
He suffered serious injury. The mother also suffered chemical burns while trying to help her son.
The bottle was supposed to have a child resistant cap but was defective and didn’t comply with the required standards.
The labelling on the bottle contained a warning that the contents could cause severe burns and that the bottle should be kept out of the reach of children. The shopkeeper didn’t have the required licence to sell the product.
The recorder concluded that the shopkeeper was jointly liable with the manufacturer. He apportioned responsibility on the basis that the manufacturer should bear two-thirds and the shopkeeper one-third.
The shopkeeper appealed, arguing that the manufacturer was solely liable.
However, the High Court upheld the decision, pointing out that the shop keeper didn’t have a licence to sell the product, hadn’t read the label, and therefore failed to keep it out of the reach of children.
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