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Not all fun and games: The truth about defective and unsafe toys

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Have you double checked your child's toys?

As a parent, you’d never imagine that your child could end up going straight from a playpen to a hospital bed, but every three minutes a child is treated in a U.S. emergency room due to a toy-related injury.

With manufacturers continually coming out with new and diverse children’s toys, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to new recalls and warnings. Many dangerous and defective toys aren’t recalled until it’s too late. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were an estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries and seven toy-related deaths in 2016.

The World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) lists the following 11 components as hazards to watch out for:

1. Toys marketed on the internet without warnings, instructions, or age recommendations posted on the website.

2. Battery-operated toys targeted at children under eight years of age. The batteries may leak, overheat, or explode.

3. Toys with “fur” or “hair.” Steer clear of dolls and stuffed animals that can be ingested or aspirated by young children.

4. Any toy with strings longer than six inches or that have a removable attachment (like a bell or knob) at the end of laces and strings.

5. Realistic toy weapons or projectile toys that shoot objects and could cause eye injuries, like swords, knives, crossbows, dart guns, slingshots, and pea shooters.

6. Toys that are meant to be strung across cribs or playpens (they could easily lead to strangulation).

7. Toys marketed with other product lines, such as food, clothing, books, cassettes, and videos which could have dangerous designs and are often sold with no warnings, instructions, or age recommendations.

8. Any toys made of flammable materials or that have toxic surfaces or components. For example, some play makeup kits have components which contain ferrocyanide, a known poison.

9. Toys that require electricity to function and do not have step-down transformers to reduce the risk of shock and electrocution.

10. Toys with small parts that can be swallowed or aspirated, causing choking.

11. Long-handled toys that are meant for children up to four years of age—they have tendencies to place these toys in their mouths and choke.

In their annual report, the nonprofit organization Kids in Danger said that 93 children’s products were recalled in 2017. That’s 11,854,605 individual toys that were recalled due to safety hazards, most of which posed a threat of choking, strangulation, or suffocation.

Every year, W.A.T.C.H. releases a “Worst Toys List,” which identifies the alarming number of hazardous toys that continue to appear on store shelves and online retailers every year. While this is an excellent starting point when shopping for your little one, it’s not to be taken as an end-all, be-all for dangerous toys. When compared to the rigid rules that exist for food and drugs, the small amount of safety testing for children’s products is alarming. So, when it comes to toy shopping, use your gut. If something looks like it could pose a threat, it probably can. You’d rather be safe than sorry.

Was your child injured by a defective or unsafe toy? The experienced personal injury lawyers at Thomas J. Henry are available 24/7 to hear your case. Contact them at 877-978-1740 or www.thomasjhenrylaw.com for a free consultation.

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