It seems like a good assumption that toys should be designed with child safety in mind, but that is not always the case. Unfortunately toys can and do cause injuries to children. Each year, approximately 169,300 toy-related injuries to children under the age of 14 are reported in hospitals and emergency rooms across the country.
Dangerous toys come in three main varieties: toys that cause choking hazards, toys with fast moving projectiles or hard parts that can cause injury to the eyes or the skin, and toys made from harmful chemicals. Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season are right around the corner, and many parents are looking for great toys for their kids. With over half of all toy sales occurring between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would like to share some toy safety tips to keep in mind when shopping.
Firstly, be mindful of what products are used to make the toy. Unlike food manufacturers, toy companies are not required to list the ingredients of their products. In 2007, Mattel had to recall over two million toys due to elevated levels of lead. Lead is a regulated component in toys; however, there are many toxic substances used in toy manufacturing that are not regulated at all. One good rule to keep in mind is to avoid toys bearing a warning that the product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Secondly, choose age appropriate toys. A toy that would be safe in the hands of a 14 year old may be very dangerous in the hands of a younger child. It is best to store an older child’s toys separately from a younger child’s toys.
Thirdly, avoid choking hazards. Many toys contain small parts that a child can swallow. Choking is a very real hazard, especially for children younger than three-years old. From 1990 to 2007, 196 children died from choking on a toy or a toy part. If a toy part can pass through an empty toilet paper roll, it is too small for children who put toys in their mouths. Small magnets can present an especially dangerous hazard when swallowed. When swallowed, magnets will attract each other and cause serious internal injuries.
Manufacturers of toys and products in general owe a duty to make products that are safe free from hazards. Unfortunately, some companies will sell toys with a dangerous defect or a potentially harmful substance in it. If your child has been injured by a dangerous or defective toy, and experienced product liability attorney can help you understand your legal rights.
Los Angeles Times: Before you buy that train set, do your homework; Amanda Leigh Mascarelli, 11/22/2010