A “potty-training” device called the WeePOD — sold by Target — is now the subject of an unusual lawsuit.
The Riverside, CA, parents of a 3-year old boy say the “soft and cushiony” seat “nearly dismembered” their child’s genitals.
The WeePOD Basix Potty Ring – marketed as providing toddlers a “sense of security during training time” – allegedly caught the young boy’s penis. While attempting to urinate, his genitals stuck to the WeePOD’s polypropylene surface, lacerating its entire circumference. The incident was witnessed by the boy’s brother.
“People go to Target assuming the products they sell aren’t going to mutilate a toddler’s genitals,” said family attorney John Kristensen. “This kid’s scarred for life.”
After being taken to a local emergency room, the boy’s penis had to be “glued back together.” According to The Sacramento Bee, physicians felt stitches were poorly suited for use in such a sensitive area.
Lawyers for the family are suing Target for unspecified damages.
Perhaps due to the unusual and unfortunate location of the injuries, Kristensen and his colleagues have asked that the names of family members not be released to the press.
Speaking to CBS Los Angeles, Kristensen suggested that WeePOD faced safety complaints in the past. Marked by its manufacturer, Prince Lionheart, and retailer Target as child-friendly, it had in fact faced criticism since 2015.
Nevertheless, a recall to fix any alleged deficiencies was never put into effect.
“They had a duty to warn customers about the dangers of their WeePOD product,” Kristensen told CBS. “Their failure to do so was reckless and led directly to the mutilation of my client.”
The Bee dug up several old reviews of the product. Some were glowing, while others implied the $15 WeePOD was a low-quality construct prone to cracking. One mother even said the device had caused her toddler to acquire a rash along his legs.
In response to the suit, Target said it was investigating the complaint and taking the allegations of poor product safety seriously.
The Bee notes another claim made by the suit – that a Virginia child suffered a similar injury in 2015 while using the same WeePOD device.
“My 4 year old [sic] son was going to the bathroom on his wee pod basix potty seat [sic] when he stood up [sic] he started screaming,” read the account. “He had a nasty cut on the base of his penis and it was bleeding a lot. My husband and I cleaned him up and took him to the doctor.”
“When we got home I examined the seat and the bottom edge is actually very sharp and just sliced open the very sensitives in in that area,” the Bee quotes the parent as saying. “This has been horribly traumatic for him and could have been so much worse.”
On top of asking for damages, the suit is demanding that Prince Lionheart and Target advertise WeePOD’s potential to “lacerate toddlers’ genitals” during normal, everyday use.