During the holiday season, children often clamor to get the latest toys off the shelves. Many kids receive dozens of new toys from friends and family members, which means many new products enter your home.
Unfortunately, not all of these toys will bring holiday cheer. In fact, some of them may be downright dangerous.
As adults shop for toys and kids anticipate unwrapping their new goods, our injury attorneys in Birmingham want to urge parents and other caregivers to exercise caution this holiday season. Making sure toys are age appropriate, keeping tabs on new toys that come into the home and checking product recall lists are all important steps to help keep your children safe from the harm that a dangerous product can cause.
Holiday Toy Shopping Risks
In 2010, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report on toy recalls and toy injuries. According to the report, the number of toy recalls has been declining in recent years. In 2010, for example, 44 recalls were necessary as compared to 50 in 2009 and 172 in 2008. Toy-related fatalities were also on the decline, with 12 reported deaths of kids under 15 in 2009 as compared to 24 deaths in 2/?p=1007 and 2008.
CPSC attributed the decline in recalls and deaths to new toy safeguards and increased safety efforts, including a partnership with Customs and Border Protection data systems to stop dangerous toys from entering the country. The safeguards included establishing very low lead content and lead paint limits; limiting the use of some phthalates; and imposing mandatory toy standards instead of voluntary ones.
While the CPSC report had some good news, there was also some bad news as well. The report indicated that the number of injuries due to toys was actually on the rise, with 186,000 emergency room visits related to toy injuries in 2009 versus only 152,000 toy-related injuries in kids under 15 in 2005. However, CPSC stated that many of the ER visits were associated with toy use, but not necessarily caused by toys. Further, many of the injuries were relatively minor and included cuts and abrasions on the face and the head.
Dangerous Toys in the 2012 Holiday Season
While the 2010 CPSC report provides some relief to parents concerned about the dangers toys can present to their kids, the fact remains that far too many dangerous toys are still out there. In fact, a November 21, 2012 article on CNN warned parents that “Dangerous toys lurk on shelves.”
The CNN article focused on the 27th annual Trouble in Toyland survey released by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. The survey revealed that:
These problems were identified by researchers from the U.S. Public Interest Research group visiting stores throughout September, October and November to spot potential toy hazards across the country.
Protecting Your Kids From Dangerous Toys
Ultimately, it is the manufacturers and the distributors of toys who are in the best position to make sure that kids are not harmed by toys or other products marketed to children. Manufacturers are the only ones who really know if they have complied with all safety standards, used safe materials, and labeled their products properly.
As such, manufacturers are held legally accountable if something goes wrong with their products and, in fact, can be sued by injured victims or family members of children who suffer an injury. The laws are strict in imposing blame on manufacturers for dangerous toys and victims or parents may only need to show that the toy was used as intended and caused harm in order to prevail in a case against the manufacturer.
While manufacturers are the best line of defense against dangerous toys, parents should also be cautious when it comes to protecting their kids. Checking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissions page Recalls and Product Safety news is a good first step that parents can take to keep their kids safe.
Birmingham Accident Risks Increase as Holidays Approach, Published by Cross & Smith LLC, October 16, 2012
Dangerous toys lurk on store shelves, group warns, CNN, November 21, 2012.