On April 2 in Los Angeles, 2-year-old Edwin Campos and two of his young cousins were critically injured when they accidentally tipped over a kitchen stove and were doused with a pot of scalding water.
"In the best case scenario, this boy will have years of reconstructive surgery," states Peter Grossman, a Los Angeles burn specialist who is caring for the toddler. Inside Edition reveals many similar accidents over the years when children have caused stoves to tip and investigates why these tragedies continue to occur.
Roger Boisjoly is an engineer and safety expert, who tells the newsmagazine that almost every stove sold in America has a design flaw that can seriously injure children. Roger explains that young children will sometimes use the oven door as a step, causing it to tip over.
"When that goes down, this whole stove comes over, and if anybody's in front of it, they're in trouble," he warns. To solve this problem, the home appliance industry actively promotes the use of special anti-tip brackets. Manufacturers say if the simple metal brackets are installed correctly, they fasten the stove to the kitchen floor or wall and avert potential disaster.
But attorney Dan Sciano of San Antonio, TX, who has worked on more than a hundred lawsuits involving stove tip-overs, maintains that brackets are often installed incorrectly or not at all.
"We now know within the industry that most of the time, it's not being used... that's the reality," he said. Sciano provided Inside Edition with internal industry documents that he says show that major manufacturers are well aware that the safety bracket solution is not working. One e-mail reveals that, as far back as 1996, one major stove company estimated that less than 10% of their stoves were being properly installed with safety brackets. Another major oven manufacturer estimated that less than 5% of their customers had safety brackets installed.
To get an idea how pervasive the problem still is, Inside Edition "spot-checked" recently-built homes in Mesquite, NV. The newsmagazine found that only one family in four had safety brackets properly installed. One had improperly installed brackets, rendering them useless, and two of the four homes the newsmagazine visited had no safety brackets at all, leaving their stoves dangerously vulnerable to a tip- over.
Many engineers like Roger Boisjoly believe the tip-over effect can be eliminated completely by changing the design of the stoves. One solution that's been discussed for years within the industry is a breakaway door. When too much weight is applied, the oven door would fall safely to the ground, instead of pulling over the whole appliance.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, an industry trade group that represents oven makers, declined Inside Edition's requests for an on-camera interview. But in a statement the group said safety is a priority in the industry and that their ranges, "...adhere to all safety and stability requirements set by U.S. safety organizations."
Regarding safety brackets, the group said the industry has "...developed an effective and reliable anti-tip device that can be easily installed."
Attorney Dan Sciano says that the continuing tragedies are proof the industry's solution is just not working. "The injuries are catastrophic... I see children getting injured over and over and over and there's just simply no reason for this anymore...it needs to be stopped. Period."
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission tells Inside Edition the agency has received reports that anti-tip brackets are not being properly utilized and are currently looking into the matter.