Few things are more fulfilling than seeing a child’s face light up when she opens her gifts this holiday season. Some toys will entertain your child for hours on end, while others may be tossed aside and forgotten almost immediately. Regardless of your child’s expert opinion on the entertainment value of the toys, one thing is certain: each toy must be free of choking hazards, dangerous levels of lead and other toxins, and design and manufacturing defects.
The United States Public Interest Research Group’s 2013 “Trouble in Toyland” report warns consumers about the most common hazards in some popular children’s toys just in time for the holidays. Historically, the report has identified children’s products that could cause injury, choking, strangulation, and toxic chemical exposure. The 2013 report made important findings about the lead content in toys, other toxic chemicals in toys, choking hazards, magnets, and noisy toys, and identified some specific toys that raised significant child safety concerns. For example, the report noted the following:
- The Captain America Soft Shield, a vinyl toy, had 29 times the amount of lead as the legal standard.
- The Ninja Turtles Pencil Case contained a phthalate chemical that has been banned from toys, and excessive levels of toxic cadmium.
- The Chat & Count Smart Phone by Leap Frog made sounds measuring more than 85 decibels, and prolonged exposure to such loud noise – especially when the toy is placed to the ear as intended – can cause gradual hearing loss to children and adults alike.
- The Princess Wand, manufactured by Greenbrier International, contained small parts that could pose a choking hazard.
- Many toys in the Littlest Pet Shop line of toys by Hasbro contained small parts that could cause choking, and also had labeling violations.
According to the report, choking is the leading cause of toy-related deaths among children. Additionally, the majority of all toy-related injuries happen to children ages two and under. Though the number of children’s product recalls has decreased in recent years, signaling a positive change in the regulation and manufacturing of children’s products, toy hazards continue to be a significant threat to our most vulnerable population.
Of primary importance is the prevention of harm to children. You can be vigilant and help minimize the risk of injury or death to children by following the tips provided atwww.ToySafetyTips.org. However, if your child has been injured by a toy or other product, ensure your child receives immediate and necessary medical attention. Document and photograph your child’s injuries, and preserve the toy that caused the injury in the exact condition it was in when your child was harmed, as well as any packaging you may still have for the toy. Contact a personal injury attorney at Parker Scheer to discuss whether you and your child may have a negligence, breach of warranty, failure to warn, or other product liability case against the toy designer, manufacturer, or distributor.