At best, a defective toy can be a disappointment to a little one looking forward to some entertainment. At worst, a defective product can be dangerous, and in some cases, pose a risk of life-threatening injuries.
The latest report on Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries for calendar year 2014 (released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in October) indicates there were at least 252,000 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths last year. These incidents do not count the incidents wherein a toy may have been associated with death or injury, but was not necessarily the cause of it.
The CPSC reports that within fiscal year 2015, there were a total of 25 toy-related recalls. That’s a fairly significant drop from 2008, when there were 172 toy recalls. It might be easy to take a leap of logic to assume manufacturers are getting better about protecting young consumers. However, the agency notes it continues to turn away batches of toys at U.S. ports that violate a range of standards, including parts that are too small, flammability risks and excess levels of phthalates and lead.
As the holiday season approaches, potentially dangerous toys are a primary concern for shoppers. This is especially true when purchasing toys from online retailers. Those products may not necessarily endure the same vetting process as those that are sold in bulk to large retailers.
Toy safety advocates at World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH), took the opportunity to rank the top 10 most dangerous toys for this year, which included:
- A stuffed toy dog on wheels, marketed to toddlers and later recalled because the wheels were choking hazards;
- A realistic-looking toy gun;
- Children’s individual trampoline;
- A toy sword with a sharp blade;
- A toy doctor kit with small pieces that pose choking hazards;
- A pull-along toy marketed to 1-year-olds that poses a strangulation hazard;
- Toy dinosaur claws that are sharp and come with no warning of the potential for eye and facial injuries, despite being marketed to 4-year-olds.
It’s worth noting that product manufacturers – particularly those who make toys – have to provide warnings and labels not only as it pertains to the correct usage, but also regarding foreseeable misuses. For example, a toy may be marketed to children over a certain age, but it’s reasonably foreseeable that younger children might be in the home and could have access to it if parents aren’t warned of danger otherwise.
Of those toy-related injuries that occurred in 2014:
- More than 40 percent were classified as abrasions, contusions and lacerations.
- Forty-four percent involved injury to the head and face.
- Males accounted for nearly 60 percent of toy-related injuries.
The toys associated with fatalities of children younger than 12 last year were:
- Non-motorized scooters
- Non-motorized riding toys (falls, struck by motorized vehicle)
- Balloon/ balloon strings (asphyxiation, choking, etc.)
- Stuffed toys/ dolls
- Water guns
The CPSC recommended parents:
- Purchase only age-appropriate toys, particularly for children under age 3, who are vulnerable to choking hazards.
- Ensure children using skateboards, inline skates and riding toys wear helmets and safety gear.
- Ensure magnetic toys are kept away from small children.
Although toy-related injuries are a year-round concern, many hazards may be avoided if parents can steer clear of toys that are obviously dangerous. When child injuries do occur as a result of a defective or dangerous toy, a product liability attorney should be contacted so legal options are clear.
Call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a Montgomery personal injury lawyer.
3 Toy Tips to Keep Your Child Safe This Season… and All Year Long, Nov. 19, 2015, Consumer Product Safety Commission