What do a plush elephant pillow, a plastic hammer, and a slingshot-like device that shoots out balls of slime have in common? They all appeared, last holiday season, on a list of the year's most dangerous toys compiled by the Boston-based group World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH).The number of injuries associated with toys is alarmingly high. In recent years, more than 254,000 injuries related to toys were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.
People buying toys as Christmas or holiday gifts for kids this year should be careful to check out the toys they select. There are easy steps you can take to help keep the little ones safe. Start by doing research before you hit the mall or the online store. Check your naughty-but-nice list twice, say, “Ho, ho, ho” – and then Google for information about the toys, read reviews or look up the products in Consumer Reports, and check to see if there have been any recalls.
1. Avoid buying second-hand items. Toys that were manufactured recently must meet current safety standards. Old toys are not held to the same rules. In addition to not having to comply with the latest – or perhaps any – toy safety regulations, a used toy could also be broken. Don't take any chances. Buy your toys new.
2. Don't shop from stores or websites you aren't familiar with. Stick with stores and sites you trust because you know they have good reputations, you have bought things from them before, and you have been satisfied with your purchases and the store or site's customer service. When you're buying gifts for kids, this is not the time to take a chance on an unknown seller.
3. Pay close attention to the age recommendations on toys. Most people don't. In fact, only 27 percent of parents pay attention to the recommended age printed on the package, according to the Toy Industry Association. The recommendations are there for safety guidance. They have nothing to do with how smart a particular child is but are a reflection of the developmental abilities of children at a given age.Toys should always be age-appropriate. Keep toys meant for older kids away from babies and toddlers. If possible, store and use them in separate areas. Toys with strings, cords, or ribbons should never be hung in cribs or playpens because young children can get tangled up in them – a serious problem that can cause injury or even death.
4. Don't compromise on quality. Toys should feel sturdy and durable.
5. Watch out for dangerous features. Make sure there are no sharp points, edges, or corners. Toys with long cords or strings can create strangulation hazards. Toys with loose or small parts can be a choking hazard for small children.
6. Discard the original package after opening. Packages may contain small pieces that are dangerous for curious toddlers. Don't pack toys back up in the box they were sold in unless the box was designed specifically for that kind of storage.Make sure any containers you use are safe. Locking mechanisms can easily catch little fingers.
7. Read the instructions. When children get toys as gifts, they usually want to play with their new treasures right away. It's important, though, to read the instructions to your children before they start using the toys, including any warnings or instructions printed on the box. You could even demonstrate how to play with the toys safely and appropriately.
How can you find out if a toy has been recalled?
Maybe you are buying a gift for a child. You’ve done the research, read reviews, and found the perfect toy. Great! Before clicking on “Buy” or taking the toy to the cash register, there's one more thing to do: Check to see that it hasn't been recalled. Or maybe you want to be sure that none of the toys your kids received this year have been recalled. Here’s what you can do:
Find recall information online.
Understanding Product Liability LawUnfortunately, toys and other products that are defective may cause injury and even death. If you or a loved one have been injured or harmed by a defective product, you may be able to file a lawsuit and get compensation from the product's manufacturer or seller.
If you or a loved one have been harmed by a product, we invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled product liability attorney.
Holidays are a magical time for children. We wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday from all of us at Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm.