Just ahead of the holiday shopping rush, consumer watchdog Consumer Affairs reported on the annual list of most dangerous toys, as released by the World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH). The toys on the list are there for a variety of reasons. For instance, some, like the extremely popular Fidget Spinners, have small parts that can be dangerous choking hazards. Others have the potential to cause blunt force injury.
Some of the most common risks in previous years have included things like:
- Small, pointed parts;
- Projectile pieces;
- Inadequate warnings on toy labels.
Holiday shopping reportedly accounts for 65 percent of all annual toy sales, which is why our Fort Lauderdale product liability lawyers urge consumers to pay attention. That means buying toys that meet the age specifications for the child recipient and be cautious to avoid small parts in gifts intended for small children. However, manufacturers have a great responsibility too. When their product is used either as intended or in a manner that is reasonably foreseeable, yet results in an unreasonable risk of harm, they can be held accountable.
Claims are based on a theory of law known as product liability, meaning responsibility for injuries caused by products that are defectively designed, defectively manufactured or that lack adequate warnings about certain non-obvious dangers. Standards for child products are especially high because youngsters can’t be expected to be as discerning or careful about the products they are using. Defendants in product liability cases can involve anyone in the chain of distribution – from the person/ company who designed the toy to the factory that made it to the company that sold it.
These cases are often complex and require extensive expert witness testimony. However, they are often worth pursuing, particularly when a child suffers serious personal injury or, tragically, death, as a result of playing with defective toys.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently released its annual report on Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries for Calendar Year 2016. The regulator reported an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries were treated at U.S. hospitals in the U.S. last year, which is about the same as it’s been for the last three years. Forty-five percent of those injuries involved head or facial trauma. Males accounted for 139,000 toy-related injuries. There were also seven toy-related deaths, mostly involving non-motorized scooters (in most cases by motor vehicle accidents), and choking due to airway obstructions caused by small parts.
WATCH reports there were 15 toy recalls since last December, meaning at least 2 million potentially dangerous, defective toys on the market. It should be noted a recall does not absolve a manufacturer or distributor from liability, though it can’t be used as proof positive of a defect in civil litigation.
Among the toys listed by Consumer Affairs as posing possible danger:
- Hallmark “Itty Bittys” stacking toys for babies. These devices were recalled in August, but are still on the market. They pose a choking hazard.
- Pull Along Polly. This toy poses a possible strangulation hazard because of its 19-inch long cord, when industry regulations specify strings on crib toys should be less than 12 inches.
- Nerf Zombie Strike Deadbolt Crossbow. The force of the arrows reportedly poses a risk of facial or eye injuries.
- Brianna Baby Doll. Removable clothing and ponytail holders are reportedly a choking hazard.
Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
The 10 most dangerous toys of 2017, Nov. 22, 2017, By Sarah D. Young, Consumer Affairs
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Florida Distracted Driving Accident Risk High, Oct. 22, 2017, Fort Lauderdale Child Injury Attorney