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A Pennsylvania mom, on behalf of her two-year-old daughter, has filed a new pressure cooker lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff brings claims against Instant Brands, Inc., makers of the Instant Pot pressure cooker, and Target, where she purchased the pressure cooker.

Two-Year-Old Child Suffers Burns After Instant Pot Explodes

According to her complaint, the plaintiff was making soup in her Instant Pot on September 18, 2020. After adding her desired ingredients, she properly closed the lid and began the cooking process, setting the timer for 60 minutes.

Once the cooking process was completed, the plaintiff noticed an error message on the screen stating “burn.” She released the pressure valve. Once she believed the pot was no longer under pressure, she began to remove the lid.

The lid shot open with great force, spewing the scalding hot contents into the plaintiff’s kitchen, making contact with her young daughter, who was sitting nearby in a chair. The plaintiff states she used all her strength to try to keep the lid closed, but was unable to do so because of the force inside. The contents continued to fly out. Her daughter screamed in pain.

The plaintiff called 9-1-1, and paramedics took her daughter to the hospital, where she was treated for third-degree burns to her face, neck, chest, left shoulder, and left arm. She had to undergo significant debridement and/or skin grafting.

The toddler’s treatment is ongoing and is likely to continue well into the future. Worse, she will suffer permanent scarring all over her left side, and suffers from a “frozen shoulder.”

Instant Pot Falsely Advertised Safety Features

The plaintiff seeks to hold the Instant Pot manufacturer liable for her child’s injuries. She states that the company advertised its product as being equipped with 11 safety mechanisms, including a safety lid lock. Yet the lock didn’t work as expected.

Instant Pot claims on its website that when the pot is pressurized, the lid will automatically lock to prevent opening the cooker. It also states that if the lid is not in a safe position for pressure cooking, the cooker will not allow cooking to begin. The Instant Pot manual contains similar verbiage, stating that once pressurized, the lid will lock.

Instant Pot also used media outlets to advertise its cooker. In one YouTube video, the spokesperson states that users don’t have to be afraid of the device because of its safety features. “With 10 safety features built-in, you can use your Instant Pot with confidence, knowing that it is not going to explode,” the video states.

In another similar video, a spokesperson boasts about the product’s safety, stating that once the lid is locked and the contents under pressure, “there is no way to open the pressure cooker.”

The plaintiff claims that the Instant Pot is unreasonably dangerous because the lid can be opened while the pot is still under pressure, causing scalding hot contents to erupt from the pot when opened. She brings counts of strict product liability, failure to warn, negligence, negligent/reckless representation, breach of warranties, violation of Pennsylvania unfair trade practices and consumer protection law, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

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