One child is treated in the U.S. emergency rooms every three minutes for a toy-related injury
By: James Swartz
Managing & Principal Attorney – Car Accidents, Catastrophic Injuries, Contract and Business Litigation, Inadequate Security & Premises Liability Litigation, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability & Wrongful Death
Whether you’re looking for a new toy for your child or you’re picking up a gift for a kid’s birthday party, it’s important to be mindful that safety is top priority.
Toys can be a lot of fun, but they can also be dangerous if the manufacturer or retailer has ignored important design and testing standards. Moreover, many such standards may be inadequate, requiring vigilance by consumers. Yearly, thousands of children present to hospital emergency rooms with toy related injuries.
4 Tips For Buying Safe Toys
When it comes to choosing toys for kids, the main focus is safety. Here are 5 tips that will help you pick the best toys:
1. Read the label
Most items have labels for a reason: to give customers important safety information about the products. Whether it’s the nutrition information, warnings, or age recommendations, you can learn a lot by reading the packaging or label. However, don’t rely exclusively on the manufacturer to provide all important information. Understand the types of hazards, such as small parts or long strings, and make your own informed decisions.
2. Size matters
Babies and young children have a tendency to put small parts in their mouths. Make sure that toys do not have loose parts, or components that could break. Anything with small pieces may pose a choking risk. Again, do not rely on the warnings and cautions – inspect the toy carefully before giving it to your child.
3. Electric toys should be “UL Approved”
If a toy has the UL seal on it, that means that the UL has tested the product and concluded that it meets national safety standards and doesn’t likely pose a safety risk to the person using it. UL has very strict guidelines, so you can take comfort in knowing that any UL approved toy will be likely to have an electrical defect that could injure a child.
4. Avoid toxic chemicals
Because small children have a tendency to explore their toys with both their hands and their mouths, it’s important to look for items that are labelled “non-toxic”. Toxic chemicals can cause a number of health issues, so it is best to avoid such products. Also, science playsets can contain individually packaged chemicals within the box, so be sure to read those labels as well regarding toxicity warnings.
Toys can be recalled for numerous reasons. The most common include unsafe lead levels, fire hazards, and choking hazards.
Picking age-appropriate toys
One thing that you will see on nearly every toy you come across is an age recommendation. This is based on a few guidelines:
- Are there any choking hazards?
- Whether the has the physical or mental capacity to use the toy safety
- The child’s interests and needs at their developmental stage
However, do not assume a toy is safe for the age indicated on the label – carefully inspect the toy, packaging and package inserts before or soon after purchase. Remember, there have been millions of units of defective toys recalled over the years, including those that were claimed to be safe for certain ages.
Sometimes, a toy company issues a recall with pressure from the government, once it is determined there is a defect, sometimes even after a tragic injury or death. The agency that handles the safety of products sold in the United States is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Its main goal is to protect consumers and help ensure dangerous toys are recalled as quickly as possible. However, be aware that not all dangerous toys are recalled.
Toys can be recalled for numerous reasons. The most common include unsafe lead levels, fire hazards, and choking hazards. If you discover that one of the toys in your home has been recalled, it is important that it is removed as soon as possible. If your child has been exposed to harmful chemicals or lead, consult their doctor for a physical examination and testing.
What to do if your child is injured by a toy
If your child is seriously injured by a defective toy, we highly recommend you consult a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer. Such lawsuits are a category of “product liability” law, and require proof of negligence or breach of warranty.
Seeking medical attention
Immediately following the injury, it is crucial that medical attention is sought. The child should be seen at an urgent care center, the emergency room at your local hospital, or at their normal pediatrician’s office, depending on the injury severity. Make sure that you inform all medical professionals treating your child how they were hurt and when.
The more evidence you are able to preserve, the better the chances are that your attorney will be able to present a strong factual and legal case. This includes, when possible, the defective toy itself, as well as “exemplars” or similar toys for future testing. Also, keep all receipts, package and paperwork.
When should I hire an attorney?
Once early medical intervention has occurred,and if you suspect that a defective toy is to blame, consultation with an experienced Massachusetts product liability attorney as soon as possible is important. There might be a lifetime of pain and medical expenses ahead, so ensuring the best opportunity to recover just compensation for your loved one should be an important focus.
James Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.
If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.