The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated that in 2007 there were 18 deaths and over 170,000 emergency room visits due to toy related accidents to children under 15 years old. Most deaths were due to airway obstruction, drowning accidents, or motor vehicle accidents during outdoor play.
This holiday season take some time to consider the issues listed below when your children begin playing with their new toys.
Age Appropriateness: Many injuries are not necessarily due to a dangerous toy, but rather the age appropriateness of the toy. Those households with younger siblings should be cautious of the younger child playing with the older child’s toys. Even if the packaging states the appropriate age groups, use discretion if you don’t think the toy is suitable for your child.
Riding Toys: Scooters, skateboards, in-line skates, and other riding toys can lead to falls and other injuries. Children should always wear protective gear and helmets which are properly fitted, and be educated about riding safely on the streets and sidewalks to prevent accidents.
Sharp Edges and Blunt Force Damage: Toys with sharp, unyielding edges or pointy objects embedded in the toys can cause puncture wounds or injuries. Some toys have projectiles which are ejected from the toy with such force that they can cause eye injuries or bruising.
Small Parts: Toys with small parts can be swallowed and choke children, particularly those under 3 years old. If a toy can fit into a toilet paper roll, it could easily be swallowed and choke a child. Be aware of toys with small parts that might break off or dislodge with some force.
Balloons: Always discard old or broken balloons. Children can easily suffocate on un-inflated balloons or balloon pieces.
Magnets: Avoid play sets with small magnets for children under six years old. Many magnets today are extremely powerful for their size, and serious injuries or even death can occur if magnets are swallowed.
Chargers and Power Cords: Burns and shocks can occur with small children and toys with power cords. Battery powered toys are recommended over those with chargers, and chargers should always be supervised by adults.
Length of Cords: To reduce the risk of strangulation, the industry standard for cord length on toys is 12 inches, however, it is not a law, and not all manufacturers adhere to this. For example, some toy pets come with leashes which exceed this length. Also be aware of plush animals where the hair can be easily removed posing a danger of aspiration for small children and babies.
Toxic Components: Toys containing lead and certain plastics can be toxic to children who tend to put objects in their mouths. Avoid toys containing the chemical phthalate– a key ingredient in many soft plastics, but has been found to be toxic. Avoid purchasing toys from thrift stores or vendors who might not be compliant with meeting safety standards, or check the toy’s status for recalls on the CPSC’s web site.
Has Your Child Been Injured Due to a Hazardous Toy?
If your child was the unfortunate victim of a toy with improper warnings, contact the lawyers at Whitehead & Chiocca for a complimentary review of your case.