One child is treated in the U.S. emergency rooms every three minutes for a toy-related injury

 

At a time when children are spending more time playing at home to curb the spread of Covid-19, toy safety remains a critical concern.

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) today revealed its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of 2020” and demonstrated why the “Calico Critters Nursery Friends,” “Star Wars Mandalorian Darksaber,” “Missile Launcher,” and other potentially hazardous toys should not be in the hands of children. Although intended for fun and entertainment, many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk of injury or death. At this year’s press conference at Franciscan Children’s in Boston, W.A.T.C.H. offered practical tips for identifying hazards, so parents and caregivers know what traps to avoid when inspecting toys already in their homes and when buying toys—especially in the upcoming 2020 holiday shopping season.

Consumer Advocates Joan Siff, President of W.A.T.C.H., and James Swartz, Director of W.A.T.C.H., illustrated some of the safety hazards recently identified on toy store shelves and online, including toys with small parts or fiber-like hairs with the potential for choking or ingestion injuries, a particular concern for young children. Highlighted at this year’s conference were toys that encourage aggressive or violent play that could result in potential impact or laceration injuries and toys sold with unrealistic warnings and instructions. Swartz and Siff also discussed the impact of online purchasing on toy safety, up-to-date information about toy recalls and the necessity for more stringent oversight of the toy industry. One reason the message today is so urgent: Many toy-related injuries are preventable.

With the recent surge of COVID-19 cases, families looking for ways to keep their children engaged while socially distancing at home are relying on manufacturers more heavily to make sure their children’s toys are designed with safety as the top priority. Unfortunately, there have been many deaths, disfigurements and disabilities inflicted upon children as a result of poorly designed and tested toys. There is an average estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries to children each year . For over four decades, W.A.T.C.H. has tackled the issue of dangerous toys in the hope of bringing about change and reducing injuries to children. Nonetheless, dangerous toys remain on store shelves, in catalogues, and on e-tailers’ websites. Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels, continue to reappear in new generations of toys putting children at risk.

Steps for a Safer Holiday Season and Beyond:

The holidays may look different this year due to travel restrictions and social distancing protocols, but children are still excited to play with their favorite toys. During this time of change and uncertainty, when families and caregivers look to toys for their children’s entertainment and engagement, the toy industry experienced a 19% growth in the first three quarters of this year Although there is much that families may not be able to control during COVID-19, there are some steps they can take to have a safer holiday season when it comes to toy safety.

According to the latest statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 226,100 toy-related injuries in the U.S. in 2018…

Steps for a Safer Holiday Season and Beyond:

The holidays may look different this year due to travel restrictions and social distancing protocols, but children are still excited to play with their favorite toys. During this time of change and uncertainty, when families and caregivers look to toys for their children’s entertainment and engagement, the toy industry experienced a 19% growth in the first three quarters of this year Although there is much that families may not be able to control during COVID-19, there are some steps they can take to have a safer holiday season when it comes to toy safety.

  • Home Base: What’s in Your Toybox?With limited after-school opportunities, children are spending more time playing with toys and games. Extra time playing with toys at home could result in a surge of toy-related injuries. The increased usage of toys and games during the coronavirus pandemic, and families’ increased dependence on the safety of these products, highlights the importance of the safety messages W.A.T.C.H. has been promoting for years. While informing families about the dangers of small parts and other traditional toy hazards, W.A.T.C.H. works year-round to reduce preventable injuries to children. W.A.T.C.H. is alerting parents to be vigilant when it comes to toy safety and regularly examine the toys in their child’s toy box for hidden hazards that may or not be easily detected, such as toys with small parts sold to babies. Consumers may expect there are sufficient checks and balances in place to prevent dangerous toys from reaching store shelves and e-commerce sites, but unfortunately this is not always the case. The reality is many of these unsafe toys end up in children’s homes and schools. Even toys that pass existing safety standards can be dangerous. Toys with small parts that could detach during play or long pieces that could be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway are examples of less obvious hazards. On the 2020 “Worst Toys” list, both the My Sweet Love Lots To Love Babies Minis and the Calico Critters Nursery Friends have parts that could be potential choking hazards for young children. Choking is one of the most significant contributors to toy-related injuries and deaths­–this is unacceptable.

 

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.

 

 

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