With the holiday shopping season around the corner, toys are sure to top many kids’ wish lists. While parents and grandparents shopping for toys usually expect the products they purchase to be reasonably safe, recalls and defects are more common in products intended for children than most people realize. These unsafe toys can put a child at risk for injury or even death, and that’s why it’s important to know some tips that can help keep your kids safe from defective products.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common toy-related injuries that result from defective products, 10 tips for buying safe toys, and what you should do if your child is hurt by a recalled or defective gift.
Common Toy-Related Injuries and Illnesses
Oftentimes, the makers of cheap children’s products rush them through the manufacturing stage and skip crucial testing that ensures these products are ready for market and safe for consumers. As a result, approximately 150,000 children each year suffer toy-related injuries that require emergency room treatment, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently reported that 11 children died in 2015 from injuries caused by defective toys.
A few of the common toy defects that can lead to injury involve toys that:
- Can cause choking due to parts that can be pulled off or fit into a child’s ear, nose, or mouth;
- Can overheat or cause burning, leading to a fire risk;
- Have unreasonably sharp edges;
- Trigger injury upon assembly; or
- Contain toxic materials like lead, which causes symptoms such as stomach pains, headaches, and anemia.
These injuries are serious and result from hazardous defects in a toy’s design, manufacturing, or marketing. However, there are things you can do to keep your family and loved ones safe and avoid purchasing a recalled or defective toy. In our next section, we’ll cover some tips that can help.
10 Tips for Buying Safe Toys During the Holiday Season
With so many toys on the market, narrowing down which ones to purchase — not to mention ensuring the toys you choose are safe to buy — can seem overwhelming. However, knowing what to look for when it comes to toy safety can help you make safer toy purchases for your kids.
During the gift-giving season, keep these tips in mind when shopping for safe toys:
- Check for recalls. Do your homework by going to recalls.gov and checking for product recalls on toys you have already purchased or are interested in buying.
- Read online customer reviews for safety concerns. Remember, the length of time a toy is on the market doesn’t guarantee that it’s safe for use.
- Choose age-appropriate toys. Always check the manufacturer’s label or research the recommended age range for the specific toy you want to purchase.
- Be careful with used or hand-me-down toys. When shopping at thrift stores or other outlets for used toys, check the overall quality and durability of the toys by applying reasonable pressure to the product and making sure parts and affixed pieces are not sharp or easy to remove.
- Buy long-lasting, well-made toys: You might have to pay steeper prices for high-quality toys, but these products will last longer and won’t break down as easily, which can lead to fewer (and safer) toy purchases in the long run.
- Check for toys with coin– or button-shaped batteries. If these types of batteries are present, make sure they aren’t easy for a child to access and remove, as they’re easy for a child to swallow.
- Avoid toys with strings. Cords, strings, and straps reaching seven inches or more can pose a strangulation risk for kids.
- Don’t buy toys that shoot. If used inappropriately, toy guns or any other toys that shoot projectiles — even soft ones — can cause serious eye injuries.
- Never buy excessively noisy toys, Toys that produce very loud noises can cause damage to a child’s ears and hearing.
- Look for product evaluations. Search for toys that have been evaluated and approved by the American Society for Testing and Materials.
How to Stay Alert for Recalls and Report Defective Products
According to the CPSC, the government worked with manufacturers to recall 24 different toys in 2016, one of which contained lead. While this number may sound small, it likely represents millions of units of dangerous toys available for sale in the U.S. and Canada. Safety recalls don’t expire, so it is best to check periodically for the latest recalls at sites like safekids.org.
Unfortunately, even the most careful and educated parents can’t protect their kids from every defective toy, and children will continue to suffer injuries as long as manufacturers refuse to adhere to sensible safety standards. If your child has been harmed by a dangerous or defective toy, you should report the defect and the injury to the Consumer Product Safety Commission at saferproducts.gov, then speak with an experienced product defect lawyer who can talk with you about your legal rights and options.
Contact David L. Hood If You’ve Been Hurt by a Defective Product in South Carolina
If your child or loved one has been injured by a recalled or defective toy, please schedule a free consultation with experienced product defect attorney David L. Hood by calling (843) 491-6025 or filling out our brief online contact form.
We know how difficult it can be to deal with the effects of product defect-related injuries and the untold pain and suffering they cause — especially when children are the victims. At the Law Offices of David L. Hood, we work hard to protect your rights and make things simple for you and your family so you can focus on healing. After a free case evaluation, product liability attorney David L. Hood, co-counsel, and our team of experts will vigorously pursue your case to get you the best result we can achieve. Let us put years of experience to work for you!
*Clients are not liable for any expenses unless there is a recovery in their case; however, if there is a recovery in their case, clients will be liable for expenses. Attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the recovery, which will be computed before deducting expenses.
Caldwell, B. (2017). Toy safety checklist. Fisher-Price. Retrieved from http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/parenting-articles/health-and-safety/toy-safety-checklist
Thompson, M. (2017, October 2). Defective toys, product liability, and keeping your child safe. Today. Retrieved from http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/defective-toys-product-liability-and-keeping-your-child-safe
Toy recall statistics [infographic]. (n.d.). U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Retrieved from https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Toy-Recall-Statistics
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.