For parents, and anyone else who purchases toys for someone this holiday
season, it's important to make sure that those toys under the tree
are safe. Unfortunately, many toys sold at some of the nation's largest
retailers and discount stores do not meet safety standards, yet they are
sold anyway - putting children at risk of injury and leaving parents wishing
they had looked a bit closer beforehand.
Here's some advice from two industry leaders when it comes to identifying
dangerous toys - theConsumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which continually monitors dangerous toys and keeps a list of all recalled
toys on its website, and the
Better Business Bureau (BBB), which warns anyone who purchases toys to make sure that they meet safety
standards and are age appropriate for the user. Buyers can do this by
being aware of:
Choking hazards. According to the BBB, it's important to watch for small removable
parts that might pose a choking hazard, such as beads, bead kits and stuffed
animal parts like the eyes, nose and mouth. Make sure that the former
are not purchased for toddlers and that the latter are firmly attached.
Aside from choking hazards from small pieces, the CPSC also advises consumers
to check toys and other children's products for plastic film coverings
and remove them, as the film can also be a choking hazard.
Sharp edges. The BBB advises buyers to look for sharp edges on toys that can scratch
or moving parts that could pinch small fingers. Although it's a simple
tip that can help avoid injury, it is commonly overlooked.
Cords / strings. Both groups say to avoid toys that have long cords or strings that can
strangle infants and small children if they become wrapped around the
child's neck. This is especially true when it comes to hanging toys
with cords or strings in cribs or playpens or anytime that you're
not present to monitor the child.
Magnets. The CPSC warns that the small magnets found in many toys, but mostly in
building sets, can kill a child if two or more are swallowed or can cause
serious intestinal injuries.
Suffocation. The CPSC advises that uninflated toy balloons and pieces of broken balloons
should be kept away from young children, as they can be a suffocation
danger to kids.
The BBB also reminds toy buyers to look for the Underwriters Laboratory
(UL) listing when choosing electronic toys. Read labels carefully. Make
sure fabric products are flame resistant. Avoid letting kids put caps
for toy guns in their pockets, as they can ignite, and make sure flying
objects have protective tips on them. The CPSC also warns buyers to be
selective when purchasing electric toys, follow age recommendations on
packages, make sure the child is mature enough to operate the toy and
supervise the toy's use.
What to Do If Your Child Has Been Injured
If your child has been injured due to a defective or dangerous toy,
contact an experienced product liability injury attorney to discuss your situation. You may be entitled to compensation for medical
bills, emotional and physical pain and suffering, lost income and more.
Toy manufacturers, toy sellers and toy distributors can be held liable
when products are defectively designed or manufactured, or when they fail
to warn consumers about known defects or dangers that can cause injury.