No matter what holiday you celebrate, the season is a time for family, friends and general merriment. For those with children, gift giving is often a part of the celebration. What we as parents and grandparents need to think about is how safe are the toys we are giving our children?
Each year thousands of children are injured by dangerous toys. According to the most recent report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 251,800 toy-related injuries occurred in 2014. Of those, 11 of the injuries were fatal. These statistics are frightening and naturally, parents want to do all they can to avoid their children suffering from similar toy-related injuries. For that reason, the holiday season is a good time to think about toy safety and other child safety issues.
The first step for parents to protect against dangerous toys is knowledge; knowing which toys have been recalled, which types of toys typically cause the most injuries and the most common ways that injuries may occur.
Identifying dangerous toys
A consumer watchdog group called World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) releases a top 10 most dangerous toys list each year. Parents should know which toys have already been identified as potentially dangerous and try to avoid buying those products. Parents should also be aware of some of the most common types of toy-related injuries, such as:
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Intestinal blockage
- Choking, suffocation and strangulation
The CPSC has also recalled toys for chemical exposure, such as lead paint. Exposure to toxic chemicals can be dangerous especially to young children. Even low doses have been shown to cause serious damage to nervous systems. High doses have been attributed to permanent neurological damage and even blood poisoning.
Even though there are dangerous toy lists and recalls, it is also wise to be aware of common types of toys that have caused injury, for example scooters, balloons, rocking horses, toys with sharp edges and toys with magnets, batteries or electrical cords.
Safety tips for parents
Even with knowing which toys to avoid or types of toys to be wary of, parents can't account for every danger or know of every potential hazardous product. There are general steps parents can take to safeguard their kids against injury. Safety groups, such as Kids in Danger, recommend that parents:
- Abide by age guidelines on products
- Read and adhere to instructions, warnings and safety labels
- Inspect toys for hazards (sharp or jagged edges, broken or loose parts)
- Stay away from cheap metal or painted toys
- Avoid recycled or "classic" toys sold on the internet (older toys may not be consistent with modern safety standards)
- Refrain from giving children under three anything with a magnet or that is small enough to swallow (toys, jewelry, ect...)
Sometimes even by following every safety precaution, dangerous products are still sold and children are still injured. If your child suffers injury from a toy this holiday season, it is important to protect your child's right's and hold the responsible party accountable. Contact the law office of Alan D. Bell at 973-233-4291 to discuss what occurred, learn more about your options and help you make a claim to set your child on the road to recovery.