Consumer products maker Procter & Gamble says it has agreed to settle a lawsuit by parents who claimed a new version of Pampers diapers caused skin rashes and other problems for their babies.
P&G will pay the parents' attorney fees, estimated at $2.7 million, and give each child of the 59 plaintiffs $1,000 under terms subject to final approval in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. The company also will spend $400,000 to create a pediatric resident training program and provide skin rash education, including on the Pampers website.
P&G said it isn't paying the plaintiffs damages, and a federal probe found no specific link between the new diapers and babies' skin problems. The company also will indicate on the diapers' packaging how to get more information about rashes.
The settlement will "support the efforts of parents and pediatricians to promote babies' health and well-being," one of the parents' lawyers, Gretchen Cappio of the Seattle-based law firm Keller Rohrback, said in a statement.
P&G's Fama Francisco, general manager for baby care in North America, said in a statement that the agreement "allows us another opportunity to educate our consumers on important issues regarding their babies' health."
The proposed settlement would end the legal action triggered by last year's launch of Dry Max, which P&G touted as thinner and more absorbent.
But complaints that Dry Max caused rashes, some allegedly like burns and accompanied by blisters, spread quickly among parents, and thousands of people joined a Facebook group critical of the diapers.
P&G, which also makes Gillette shavers and Crest toothpaste, scrambled to protect its best-selling brand, insisting the new diapers weren't causing the skin rashes described. Experts say most babies get a diaper rash at least once.
The complaints prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate. It said in late September that it had found no specific link between Dry Max and rashes after reviewing some 4,700 consumer complaints.