Personal Injury Law Firm Atlanta, GA
December is a time typically marked by the giving of gifts. Unfortunately, some gifts are dangerous. Safe Toys and Gifts Month was launched as an awareness campaign by Prevent Blindness America to call attention to toys that may result in eye injuries. Other advocacy groups have joined the call to protect children from injury by inspecting every toy or gift for hidden dangers.
Injuries caused by dangerous toys often lead to lawsuits. While injury victims deserve compensation, avoiding injury is always the best policy. We present this information in the hope that December will be a safe month for every gift recipient.
Toys and the Risk of Eye Injuries
According to Prevent Blindness America, 11,000 children suffer from toy-related eye injuries each year. Some injuries, like corneal scratches, will heal over time, although any eye injury creates the risk of infection. More serious injuries can cause permanent damage to vision.
Toys with sharp points, rods, spikes, or dangerous edges are a common source of eye injuries. Parents teach children not to run with scissors but running with a toy can be just as dangerous if the toy has sharp or pointed protrusions.
The sturdier the toy, the less likely it is to break. Broken toys can create dangerous shards that can lodge in a child’s eyes.
Toys that fire projectiles, such as darts or arrows, should be limited to children who are old enough to use them responsibly. Children who are too young to understand that an air rifle should never be pointed at a person are too young to have an air rifle. Even nerf guns, such as the Vortex VTX Praxis Blaster, can fire soft projectiles with such force that they expose children to eye injuries.
Infants put toys in their mouths. That’s just a fact of life. For that reason, most toys manufactured in the United States comply with standards that prohibit toys from being coated with toxic substances.
Unfortunately, many imported toys fail to comply with U.S. standards. Retailers are responsible for selling safe toys, but they do not always exercise care in selecting the toys they sell.
The problem of unsafe products entering the United States is illustrated by Mexican-made honey pacifiers. An article written by US Newsweek shows several recent cases of infant botulism in Texas that were linked to imported pacifiers that contained honey.
Toxic chemicals that may endanger children include lead, bromine, chlorine/pvc, cadmium, arsenic, tin, antimony, and mercury. Some toy manufacturers used phthalates to soften plastics and make them more flexible. Phthalates have been linked to endocrine disruption, chronic disease, and cancer.
Any wheeled vehicle creates the risk that a child will fall while riding the vehicle. Parents can take steps to minimize those risks by assuring that the child is old enough to manage the vehicle. Bicycle helmets are important for riders of two-wheel vehicles.
Some hoverboards, on the other hand, contain dangers that are hidden from parents. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a warning based on reports that hundreds of hoverboards have overheated or started on fire while their batteries were charging. Two Pennsylvania children died in a house fire that was started by a hoverboard.
Hoverboards sold since January 2016 must be manufactured to a UL safety standard. Unfortunately, hoverboards sold by street vendors, in kiosks, on websites, and in some stores do not always meet that standard. Even a UL-compliant hoverboard might overheat. Parents should be cautious about monitoring hoverboards while charging their batteries.
Parents often give children a toy that they pull on a cord. Long cords, however, pose a strangulation hazard.
The industry standard for a pull-toy cord is twelve inches. Toys with cords that are twice that length are available from stores and websites, placing children at risk. For example, the Chien A Promener Pull Along Dog comes with a 19-inch cord that can too easily wrap around a child’s neck.
Any toy with removable parts, whether or not the manufacturer intends the parts to be removed, can pose a choking hazard for young children. For example, the Cabbage Patch Kids Dance Time Doll comes with a headband that can be removed and swallowed.
The Miniclara The Ballerina doll comes with a little kitten accessory that can detach and turn into a choking hazard. The Waterpede bath toy was recalled earlier this year because children could choke on small parts if the toy broke open. The toy and others like it might nevertheless be available for sale on websites.
Children Deserve a Safe Holiday
When children are injured or die because of an unsafe toy, a personal injury law firm Atlanta, GA offers, like Butler | Tobin, can help parents seek justice. It is so much better for everyone if those injuries never occur. Since manufacturers and sellers cannot be counted on to market safe toys, we urge parents to inspect every toy carefully before making their holiday purchases.
 Phifer, Donica. “Texas Cases of Infant Botulism Linked to Honey Pacifiers from Mexico.” Newsweek, 19 Nov. 2018, www.newsweek.com/texas-cases-infant-botulism-linked-honey-pacifiers-mexico-1221310.