We are right in the midst of the biggest shopping season of the year. Many of these sales will be toys. When most people purchase toys, they evaluate the price and whether the recipient will like and use the toy. Most people do not stop to consider how safe or unsafe the toy is, instead assuming that if a toy is on a store’s shelves, it is safe.
However, toy-related injuries are on the rise. A 21 year study of toy safety was recently released. It found that between 1990 and 2011, over 3.2 million children were treated in emergency rooms because of injuries stemming from toys. This equals an injury every three minutes.
The most dangerous toy, according to the study, is not one you might expect. The study found that foot-powered scooters pose the most danger to children. Between 2000 and 2011, scooters caused 580,000 injuries. Scooter sales have spiked, which is partly to blame for the rise in injuries. The biggest reason scooters cause injuries however is that they are not perceived as unsafe, so parents often do not require that their children wear helmets, like they may if the child was riding a bicycle. Experts say that it is critical that children riding scooters wear helmets because an injury to the brain can last a lifetime.
The study also found that 44 percent of toy-related injuries is a result of a fall, while 22 percent were from collisions. For younger children, choking, ingestion, and asphyxiation were dangers. Those types of injuries accounted for 11 percent of toy-related injuries.
Before you give out toys as holiday gifts, take a moment to make sure it is safe for the child. You should read the package to make sure it is age appropriate for the child. Do not assume that just because a toy is for sale that it is safe. Last year, over 11 million toys were recalled for safety issues.
One watchdog group has examined hundreds of toys that are for sale this year and concluded that many of the toys are potentially dangerous to kids. Some of the dangerous toys on sale this year include a glow-in-the-dark bow and arrow set, a tiny four-wheeled cycle, a pencil with a catapult attached, a stack toy with a 20 inch cord, a realistic-looking machine gun, a bottle rocket set, dolls with detachable bows and long hair, and a battle hammer.
The unfortunate thing about these unsafe toys is that, in many cases, the company knows that the product could be potentially unsafe for children, but finds ways to get around safety standards. For example, one product on the market this year is a stack pull toy. It has a cord which is 20 inches long. An industry standard requires strings on playpen toys and crib toys to be less than 12 inches in length in order to prevent strangulation. However, manufacturers are allowed to sell “pull toys” with a much longer cord, even though the same risk of infant strangulation is present.
In many cases, the manufacturers of dangerous toys do not warn parents of the risks involved to the child, even though the manufacturer is undoubtedly aware of the risks. In some cases, when a toy is discovered to be dangerous, toy manufacturers will attempt to avoid a recall by settling cases quickly and quietly in order to avoid the expense and negative publicity involved.
If your child has been injured by a dangerous toy, you can and should hold the manufacturer liable. Your child may be entitled to damages from the toy manufacturer for his or her injuries. At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that toy manufacturers who make millions in profits should be required to pay damages when their toys injure someone. Call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco product liability attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 to schedule your free consultation.