The U.S. Public Interest Research Group last week released its 27th annual Trouble in Toyland report, noting that there are still many toxic and dangerous toys on store shelves. Risks posed by these toys, according to a CNN news report, include choking, strangulation, lead poisoning and lacerations. The toy industry has, of course, flippantly referred to the group’s report as “needlessly frightening.” But hard numbers tell a different story. Over the years, the organization’s findings have led to more than 150 product defect recalls and other regulatory actions.
Toy-Related Injuries and Deaths
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in 2010 received reports of 17 deaths and 251,000 injuries that were linked to toys. The report states that balloons and small balls were associated with 47 percent of the reported deaths in 2010. A majority of the deaths (11) were from asphyxiation while drowning caused four deaths.
Toy Safety Tips
There are several steps parents and others buying toys for young children can take to prevent serious injuries. First, check toys for small parts, breakage, chipped or peeling paint. Damaged or dangerous toys should be fixed or discarded. Do your homework. Look for toy recalls and do not purchase or gift recalled toys. Instruct children not to put toys in their mouth.
When buying any sporting goods such as bikes or scooters, it is important that you buy a helmet and appropriate safety gear including knee and elbow pads. Only allow adults to use battery chargers. Teach children to put their toys away so they don’t trip over and fall on them. Younger children should not be able to access toys that are not age-appropriate for them. Report any injuries or unsafe toys to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Rights of Victims
If a dangerous or defective toy has injured you or a loved one, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages by filing a product liability claim against the toy manufacturer. Damages may be sought for medical expenses, hospitalization, treatment costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the case of a fatal injury, family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit, seeking damages. An experienced defective product lawyer will be able to advise victims or their families in such cases about how to better protect their rights and hold the negligent manufacturer accountable.