BY: A Staff Writer
A new study has found that the number of children who have been injured by dangerous toys has more than doubled in the last five years compared to the preceding decade, according to an article in the watchdog Web site, www.consumeraffairs.com. The study, which was conducted by a nonprofit group called Kids in Danger, reports that more children are being hurt by products recalled for fire- and burn-related dangers.
The study looked into 40 products recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in the last five years. The study found that 40 products were recalled in the last one year whereas only 42 products were recalled in the 10 years before that! Does that mean toy makers are putting profit over our children’s safety by handing over manufacturing operations to some sweat shop in the Third World where quality control doesn’t exist? That does seem to be the big question this study poses.
Despite modern technological advancements, which one would think might help enhance safety, the report found that toys were recalled for defects such as electrical and battery failure, flammability and exposed heat surface/substance. In the last one year alone more than 5 million defective toys were recalled. According to the report, the product that caused the most injuries was Hasbro Inc.’s Easy-Bake Oven, which caused 82 burn injuries, one so severe as to require the amputation of a 5-year-old’s finger.
More recently Mattel recalled millions of toys, which were brightened with lead-based paint. Lead can trigger serious health defects among young children such as brain damage. The report also found that some manufacturers waited long periods between the time toys hit shelves to when they actually recalled them.
It is unacceptable that our toy makers have such little regard for our children’s well-being. But it is even more appalling that they would leave these defective and dangerous products on the shelves knowing fully well that they are hazardous and could hurt innocent, defenseless, unsuspecting children. The CPSC, which is the federal safety monitoring agency, has lacked the leadership and funding it needs to protect our children.
Consumers are left with little recourse, but to sue these irresponsible manufacturers. Lawsuits seeking class-action status have already been filed against Mattel in California asking that the company set aside a fund to help parents medically screen their children for lead poisoning. It’s time these corporations step up to the plate and take responsibility for the low-quality products they’ve been handing our children. Otherwise, they must prepare to face legal action from parents, many of whom are absolutely mad that they have to take their children to the lab when they should be taking them to the park. And who can blame them?