Walmart Gas Container Lawsuit Filed Over Lack of Child-Safety Cap

A Texas couple is suing Wal-Mart and Blitz U.S.A. for a gas container explosion that caused their 2-year-old son to suffer severe burns across much of his body. The product liability lawsuit alleges that the Walmart gas can was defectively designed because it was sold without an effective child-proof cap.

The gas container lawsuit was filed on June 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas by Leonel and Amber Zecaida, whose son, Roman Zecaida, was injured after he was able to remove the cap off the plastic can. The family argues that if the gas container had a child safety cap, the boy would not have been injured in a fire and explosion that occurred.

Claims for negligence, breach of warranty, misrepresentation and failure to warn have been presented, seeking compensation for third degree burns suffered by the 2-year-old over one-third of his body.

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The injury occurred after the child’s father filled a lawnmower with gasoline and placed the gas container cap back onto the spout. A short time later, the toddler managed to pick the gas can up, remove the cap and carry it to a storage room. When the father saw the child near the container and a puddle of gasoline, he went to remove Roman from the storage room. However, as the child was being moved, the gasoline vapors ignited and the lower half of the child caught fire. As the father ran out of the room with his son, the gas container exploded, causing further injury.

According to the gas container lawsuit, the Blitz 1+ one gallon gas can only had a simple cap that required lining up arrows to remove and was ineffective as a child-resistant cap. The gas container also lacked a flame arrestor, which is a small metal mesh that could have prevented the flames from going back into the can.

The family purchased the gas container from Walmart in 2005, and included the retailer in the lawsuit, alleging that they affected the design of the gas can.

For years, gas containers were sold with minimal safety precautions built into the design. Because they were sold empty, manufacturers and retailers dodged laws in the Poison Prevention Packaging Act that required child safety caps on toxic and flammable substances.

In July 2008, the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act required all gas containers sold after January 17, 2009 to have child resistant safety caps. But there are still hundreds of thousands of gas containers in homes which can be opened by 80% of children under the age of six. In addition, most of the containers contain inadequate warnings about the risks of gas can fires, as the warnings are embedded in the red plastic of the container and are difficult to read.

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14 Comments

  • AngelaApril 7, 2011 at 2:06 am

    This is why the FDA needs to be more involved when it comes to inspections and making sure companies are working safely to avoid sad tragedies like this... its small things like not washing your hands before returning to work that cause such terrible things...

  • RyanApril 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Although it is sad that the child got hurt, it is even more sad that the parent did not put the container away safely. Even if the container was sold without a lid and included a free box of matches, it would still be the parent's responsibility to keep their kid from messing with it after they filled it with gas. This is just like the lady who sued McD's over hot coffee spilling on her lap. Ho[Show More]Although it is sad that the child got hurt, it is even more sad that the parent did not put the container away safely. Even if the container was sold without a lid and included a free box of matches, it would still be the parent's responsibility to keep their kid from messing with it after they filled it with gas. This is just like the lady who sued McD's over hot coffee spilling on her lap. Hot coffee is hot.

  • SlickNovember 26, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Blitz USA in Oklahoma is nothing but money hungry people. A nickel flame arrestor on a gas can would have saves lives. As a former employee of Blitz...they do not have the quality systems in place to manage building safe fuel cans. Blitz USA does not have the proper leadership in place at the high levels of management to ensure safe product design in their fuel cans. Blitz does all their produ[Show More]Blitz USA in Oklahoma is nothing but money hungry people. A nickel flame arrestor on a gas can would have saves lives. As a former employee of Blitz...they do not have the quality systems in place to manage building safe fuel cans. Blitz USA does not have the proper leadership in place at the high levels of management to ensure safe product design in their fuel cans. Blitz does all their product design with crayons on bar napkins from the pub. Nothing but a bunch of Redneck hillbillies Blitz understands that 20% of the consumers use their cans in starting fires. Why is Blitz not making its products safer? They have leaky spouts, thin can walls, made of unapproved resin, and are building below TSG and UL specs. Blitz USA destroyed documents, had their employees lie in litigations, and even fired employees. Blitz is doing eveything they can to avoid fixing the probelm with their products. They would rather see consumers burn to death. Blitz USA has multiple lawsuits on their cans. This is not the first dog and pony show with these arogant people.

  • UnknownJune 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    How do you explain adults getting burned up as well? Gan cans explode while adults use them too. Blizt USA failed to recognize the dangers with this product and they are doing nothing to fix it. All humans are at risk when they use these cans.

  • NatalieJune 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Parents should not supervise a 2 year old child while riding mowing grass with a loud lawnmower, let alone leave the gas can within a childs reach! CYS (children, youth, services) should of explained this to the parent! Odd how parents will not take upon themselves to admit they screwed up. Lawyers who take cases like this are ambulance chasers and go for the deeper pockets, when the lawyer sho[Show More]Parents should not supervise a 2 year old child while riding mowing grass with a loud lawnmower, let alone leave the gas can within a childs reach! CYS (children, youth, services) should of explained this to the parent! Odd how parents will not take upon themselves to admit they screwed up. Lawyers who take cases like this are ambulance chasers and go for the deeper pockets, when the lawyer should tell the client they are the reason the child got burned! If I was on the jury I would of declared Walmart and Blitz USA not guilty of the childs burns. It's sad the child got burned of course it is, but the parents are definately in the wrong here NOT Walmart or Blitz who cannot control how a consumer carelessly uses a gas can around the 2 year old child. The child could of drank some of it or anything could of happened. The parents should of known the capability of their own childs developmental skills, NOT Walmart or Blitz USA. The parent screwed up at the unfortuneate health risk of their own child! Now the parent wants to blame their own foul up on someone else and make a buck off their own stupidity! Only in America eh?

  • UnknownJune 9, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    As a former Blitz USA employee....they are doing everything they can to just make a dollar. . Not only are the containers unsafe around children they are unsafe for adults as well. Blitz USA has lacked the proper quality and product managment systems to make safe products.

  • ChrisMarch 25, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Bud is completely right. Parents are expecting Big Brother and Corporate America to do their parenting for them. Come on, now. The child is two-years old. What kind of idiot father must this be? Of course, he won't admit he's an idiot. Instead, he'll sue Wal-Mart to diffuse the blame. It's not his fault for failing to be a good parent.... Look, the other users are right. If this happene[Show More]Bud is completely right. Parents are expecting Big Brother and Corporate America to do their parenting for them. Come on, now. The child is two-years old. What kind of idiot father must this be? Of course, he won't admit he's an idiot. Instead, he'll sue Wal-Mart to diffuse the blame. It's not his fault for failing to be a good parent.... Look, the other users are right. If this happened, we would all try and sue. Of course, this will not happen to my children because I'm going to take effective measures to ensure it doesn't. Kids will get into anything, but bad parenting only exacerbates that problem. Don't worry, you can get-rich-quick off of your child's life or suffering. Way to go, Dad and Mom!

  • KariannaFebruary 17, 2010 at 3:35 am

    First of all you shouldn't make assumations about things you have never experienced. And for that matter i hope you never do experience something so awful. Gas can companies are cheapos. They could put a $3 flame thrower screen to keep the gas can from exploding and to prevent accidents like this from happening. No one person besides the family knows all the events that lead up to the accident the[Show More]First of all you shouldn't make assumations about things you have never experienced. And for that matter i hope you never do experience something so awful. Gas can companies are cheapos. They could put a $3 flame thrower screen to keep the gas can from exploding and to prevent accidents like this from happening. No one person besides the family knows all the events that lead up to the accident therefore people should keep their hurtful opinions to their self. The family has gone through a great trauma, not to mention the kid himself.

  • jonFebruary 8, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Nothing is "child proof". A determined kid can get into anything.

  • RichNovember 24, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    Would you sue Clorox if a bottle of Clorox tipped over in a bag and leaked onto your rugs and wrecked 2 carpets even though there was a Child Resistant Cap on the bottle. You would have to sue because Clorox denied my claim even though I found cracked caps on 3 of 4 bottles I purchased after I put in a claim. Big business against the small consumer.

  • VanessaSeptember 4, 2009 at 4:53 am

    I agree with Bud. Everybody these days are so consumed with not taking responsibilty for their own actions. Where was this allegid gas can? Probably in the back yard out by the lawn mower, or in the garage on the ground, or even maybe in the back shed. Had this container been locked in a garage cabinet, out of reach of the child, put away behind some sort of device or object to keep it form splatt[Show More]I agree with Bud. Everybody these days are so consumed with not taking responsibilty for their own actions. Where was this allegid gas can? Probably in the back yard out by the lawn mower, or in the garage on the ground, or even maybe in the back shed. Had this container been locked in a garage cabinet, out of reach of the child, put away behind some sort of device or object to keep it form splattering everywhere if it had gotten too hot...The child would probably have not gotten burned. Not only that, but there is a warning on almost all gas cans saying that gasoline should not be stored in hot places, or direct sunlight. Contents will build up pressure. Last I checked that was also common sense. Where were the parents when this happened? Was it summer? I'm sure they felt bad because they messed up, and rather than admitting that, they pointed the finget at some comglomerate because they could make a quick buck off their child's suffering, that was incedentally caused by the parens. And as for child proofing everything that could harm a child... why dont we just stop selling pens and pencils to school children because they might trip and fall and stab their eyes out, or even better yet, lets do away with shoe laces and go all velcroe so they cant fall and break their arms. It IS the PARENTS responsibility to keep volitile and harmful chemicals OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. It is not the manufactures job to make sure everyone elses child is safe. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY> Turn around and sue yourself.

  • JamesAugust 12, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Bud, you're comment is ridiculous, and I guarantee that if your child got into a Clorox bottle, drank it, and died you'd being suing Clorox. That's my guess anyway. Second of all chemicals that could be dangerous to children should be child proof to get into. I know you might be a perfect parent or your parents were perfect parents but for the most of us, who try to watch our children the best we [Show More]Bud, you're comment is ridiculous, and I guarantee that if your child got into a Clorox bottle, drank it, and died you'd being suing Clorox. That's my guess anyway. Second of all chemicals that could be dangerous to children should be child proof to get into. I know you might be a perfect parent or your parents were perfect parents but for the most of us, who try to watch our children the best we can, children get into things no matter how hard you try to stop them or prevent. Usually, there's always something they can get into. So please stop with your far fetched comments.

  • BudJuly 15, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Are you kidding me? Why do parents sue companies because of their lack of parental supervision of their own children??? It is not reasonable to expect every product made on this planet to be child proof. The last time I checked, the bleach bottle in my cabinet does not have a child-proof cap. Should I sue Clorox for failing to put a child-proof cap on their bottles? It is called PARENTING[Show More]Are you kidding me? Why do parents sue companies because of their lack of parental supervision of their own children??? It is not reasonable to expect every product made on this planet to be child proof. The last time I checked, the bleach bottle in my cabinet does not have a child-proof cap. Should I sue Clorox for failing to put a child-proof cap on their bottles? It is called PARENTING people !!!

  • WoodyJuly 13, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    If the manufacturer, Blitz, would install a simple metal flame arrestor on the millions of plastic consumer cans they sell through Lowe's, Sears, WalMart, KMart, etc. then this kind of accident would not happen and people wouldn't get burned. It would cost less than a dollar to install them in the container opening.

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