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| Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

On a spring day in 2010, 5-year-old Mya Joy Bartlett from North Topsail Beach, North Carolina (NC), fell while wearing a sharp plastic ponytail holder in her hair. Her family initially thought she had suffered a small cut. But it quickly became apparent something was more seriously wrong with her.

She was airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, NC, where she was diagnosed with a fractured skull and sustained a traumatic brain injury. Fragments from the hair clp had done the damage, her family reported on a website devoted to her.

Although accidents like this are rare, they shed light on the little-known dangers of hair clips for young girls. While the skulls of younger children can be fairly soft, many ponytail holder and other air accessories are made of hard plastic or metal. During a fall, the clips can become deadly penetrating implements.

In an interview with, the girl’s mother said her daughter’s attention span has suffered since the accident but added that the full effects of the brain injury will not be known until she’s older.

She also said one of Mya Joy's doctors wrote a complaint to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to get the Hello Kitty ponytail holder recalled. The letter sparked an investigation, but the ponytail holder is still on the market.

As an experienced Virginia (VA) attorney who deals with product safety issues, I’m concerned that something so apparently innocuous could have had such a serious effect on a young girl’s life. Unfortunately, large numbers of dangerous products and toys for children – many of them manufactured in China – are flooding the U.S. market. Shockingly, a recent report reveals that the Consumer Product Safety Commission had just 15 employees to oversee 30,000 tons of toys imported to the United States in 2007.

Recently, I wrote about the dangers of bumper pads in cribs. Sadly, it appears from cradle to high school, children face dangers from manufacturers who fail to pay enough attention to the risks.

If you have been hurt by a defective product you may have grounds for a lawsuit. See this FAQ on the risks posed by defective products.


About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.

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