There is nothing quite so enchanting as seeing a child enraptured in play with a beloved toy. Childhood development experts say great toys do more than just provide entertainment. They offer children an opportunity to learn, engage their senses and interact with others.
However, tragedy can strike when product manufacturers and distributors release defective toys or dangerous toys onto the market. Although toy-related injuries and illnesses are sometimes referred to as “freak accidents,” the truth of the matter is they are far too common. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports more than 250,000 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms every single year. There are also approximately a dozen toy-related deaths annually, with most usually under the age of 12.
At The Ansara Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale product liability lawyers have worked closely with families coping with catastrophic injuries or the devastating loss of a child caused by defective or dangerous toys. Our goal is to help them obtain compensation for medical expenses and other losses, but also to attain justice and fight to ensure the same fate doesn’t befall other children.Toys Associated with Child Injuries
Although the CPSC maintains a list of recalled products that is updated hourly, there are some recurring themes we see with regard to injuries and deaths caused by child products, and toys in particular. Those products are:
- Non-motorized scooters (struck by vehicles)
- Balloons/ balloon strings (asphyxiation, choking, strangulation, airway obstruction)
- Stuffed toys/ doll/ doll accessory/ figurine (suffocation, choking, asphyxia)
- Tricycles (falls or struck by vehicles)
- Non-motorized riding toys (falls or struck by vehicles)
- Plastic toy food (choking)
- Marbles (asphyxia, choking)
- Water guns (drowning)
Balls are often a concern, especially smaller ones and those that contain magnets, as well as swimming pool toys, rocking horses and toy guns. Building sets, costumes, squeaker or squeeze toys, toy boy-and-arrow sets, inflatable toys, tents, kite strings and slingshots were also listed as problematic.
Second-hand toys are often worrisome as well because buyers don’t have the benefit of manufacturer instructions and warnings.
Although toys are meant to bring joy and smiles, in these cases, they are far too often responsible for tears and pain.Possible Defects in Children’s Toys
The potential for defects in children’s toys is as endless as the many different types of toys. Still, there are some that continually prove more dangerous than others. Some of the risks with defective toys include:
- Intestinal blockage. This is particularly a problem with magnets or toys that contain magnets. It’s also been reported in certain “expanding” toys that are swallowed when small and then expand in a child’s digestive track, causing serious and even life-threatening blockage necessitating emergency surgery.
- Lead poisoning. Lead, a neurotoxin, can cause serious injury to a child’s kidneys, nervous system and long-term growth and development. Cognitive and behavioral changes are often noted, and in high doses, it can be fatal. Lead paint was banned for use in U.S. products in 1977, but toys produced in China are often found to contain excessive levels of lead paint. In fact, just since 2007, some 20 million toys manufactured in China have been recalled in the U.S. for excessive lead levels.
- Choking/ Suffocation. Choking is one of the most common causes of toy-related deaths in the U.S. among children younger than 15. Some of the most common culprits are: Balloons, balls, small toy parts, marbles. The Child Safety Protection Act of 1995 requires that all toys made in or imported to the U.S. must provide details regarding the appropriate age for that toy in order to reduce the chance of choking.
- Entrapment/ Strangulation. This is particular a problem with products such as cribs, swings and blinds.
- Chemicals. Although we don’t typically think of children’s toys as containing chemicals, the fact is regulators have discovered a number of potentially dangerous compounds in children’s toys in recent years, including: Mercury, bromine, lead, chlorine, arsenic and cadmium.
The risk of child injuries caused by toys has risen substantially in recent years, according to the CPSC. In 2000, it was estimated 191,000 children of all ages were hospitalized for toy-related injuries. Fast forward to 2014, there were 252,000 child injuries. The number spiked in 2012, when 265,000 toy-related child injuries were reported.
If your child has suffered injury as a result of defective or dangerous toys, let us help you fight for compensation.
Contact Fort Lauderdale Defective Product Attorney Richard Ansara at The Ansara Law Firm by calling toll-free (888) 267-2728.