Few things are quite as satisfying as watching a child’s eyes light up as he or she receives a new toy. This is often followed by the child furiously unwrapping the toy to start playing with it immediately—even as other gifts wait, still wrapped!
The last thing any parent wants is to give a gift that ends up posing a serious danger to the child. And yet, on average, a child is treated in an emergency room in the U.S. about every three minutes for a toy-related injury!
What can you do this holiday season to prevent injuries to your child?
Dangerous Toys for Girls and Boys
It would be great if all children’s toys were completely free of any defects or design flaws that could cause harm. Sadly, that is not the case, and millions of dangerous toys have been sold in recent years alone. Recalls are a great way to get these hazards off store shelves, but they are usually issued only after serious injuries have already occurred.
Look out for toys that fire projectiles, such as toy guns that shoot foam or soft plastic darts or fake bullets. These projectiles might be perfectly safe when they hit someone’s stomach, but a shot to the eye can cause serious injuries.
Anything with a long string or cord presents a serious strangulation hazard for small children, especially infants and toddlers.
Perhaps the biggest risks are choking hazards: items that are small enough for a child to fit in his or her mouth, particularly for young children who tend to put everything in their mouths.
Hazardous substances, such as toxic chemicals, are also a serious danger to watch for, but it can be hard to tell when such substances are present without laboratory testing.
There are some steps that can be taken by parents, friends, and family members to ensure toys are safe for the children who are going to receive them. Look at the packaging and toys carefully—with an eye for information like suggested age, as well as the toy’s design. It can also be helpful to look at recall lists in NY and across the country for items that have been recalled but are still in circulation or being sold secondhand. Finally, when a child is injured by a toy, there are steps a parent can take to receive compensation for such injuries.
Injuries from Dangerous Toys
Injuries from toys can take many different forms. Eye injuries from projectiles are particularly common, especially among slightly older children who might be tempted to fire items other than the soft foam darts that come with a toy gun. Ear injuries can also occur with loud toys and electronics with headphones, which is why the use of such items should be monitored by parents and guardians.
Choking is one of the most common and most serious injuries a child can suffer, especially a very young child. Even brief oxygen deprivation can cause long-term brain injury, and fatalities from infants choking on small objects are tragically common. Poisoning from toxic chemicals, such as lead in paint, can cause serious damage over time before symptoms are noticed.
Recall Notices and Information
Recalls are a great tool used by the government to keep dangerous toys away from children. It’s important to check recall notifications before purchasing a new toy—especially one being sold secondhand—to make sure it is safe for your child. These lists are made publicly available on numerous websites, like the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Toy Association, and the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.
Who Is Responsible for Defective Toys?
Manufacturers and sellers can be held liable for offering dangerous toys for sale to children in New York and across the country. A lawsuit is a good way to hold these companies liable, typically in the form of a product liability claim. These kinds of suits can be difficult to prove and win, which is why an experienced attorney should always be consulted before taking such action.
A lawyer with a background in product liability understands how to show that a company has been negligent in order to hold them liable for injuries done to children. It can require hundreds of hours of work, along with experts in product design and the medical industry, to show where the manufacturer made a mistake. Even something as simple as the recommended age for a product can be disastrous if the manufacturer mislabeled a toy for children too young to play with it safely.
No matter the season, when someone gets hurt, the top NYC personal injury team at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, is here to make it right. To speak to a New York toy recall attorney, please call us at (212) 986-7353 today. If we can help you, you owe us nothing until we recover the money you and your family need to recover.