While children are young and still learning about the world around them, their adult parents and guardians must look after their well-being and teach them safe habits. It is common for a parent to teach their child important safety lesson such as to stay away from the stove to avoid being burned from the hot surface, to not run by a pool for risk of falling and being hurt, or not to put certain toys and other objects near their mouth or eyes for risk of choking or poking their eyes. However, sometimes these warnings may fall on deaf ears and children are young and cannot appreciate the severity of dangers around them, or like other humans, learn from experiences.
This is common knowledge to most everyone that children learn by physically, visually, and tactilely experiencing their environment. With this knowledge, manufacturers of toys, clothes, and other products are aware of children’s common behaviors, such as putting objects in their mouths. By having this knowledge, companies have a legal duty to not manufacture products for children that could cause them harm through their everyday behaviors and habits. When companies fail to take measures to protect children, and children are injured as a result of this neglect to properly manufacture a product accordingly, the company can be held liable in a product liability lawsuit.
According to recent news by the Columbus CEO, Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, the maker of Buckyballs, has been ordered by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall their product. This is following a two-year effort to get Buckyballs off of the market. For those unfamiliar with Buckyballs, they are sets of tiny yet powerful magnetic sticking balls. The commission argues that the high-powered magnets pose an ingestion hazard to children. Because the balls are significantly stronger than most magnets, they could pose a greater danger if they are swallowed.
Lawyers in this case have estimated that the former head of Maxfield & Oberton Holdings could be liable for an estimated $57 million in costs related to this recall. It is estimated that 1700 children have gone to the emergency room between the years 2009 to 2011 because of high-powered magnet toys, such as Buckyballs. Six companies have already issued voluntary recalls for Buckyballs, including Hallmark, Barnes & Noble, and Brookstone.
In addition to issues that arise when children ingest dangerous objects that can become lodged or stuck in their GI systems, choking hazards are also a common danger for young children. According to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a choking hazard can be defined as any object that can be caught in a child’s throat blocking their airway and making it difficult or impossible to breath. Toys are not the only dangerous objects that can present a choking hazard. Many foods can present this danger as well, such as chewing gum, seeds, popcorn, and other round and hard foods. Furthermore, because infants and young children naturally put things in their mouth, there are many small objects that can be dangerous to children but are attractive to them to explore. To keep your children’s environment safe, be on the lookout for coins, marbles, buttons, medicines, hair clips, balloons, and of course – toys with small parts.
Our attorneys care about the health, safety, and well-being of young children. If a child in your family has been harmed by a toy with small parts, such as Buckyballs, you may be able to hold the manufacturer liable through legal action. Our attorneys are experienced in personal injury and product liability lawsuits for people of all ages, and we would be happy to potentially help you. Call us for a free consultation, and we can discuss your legal options with you.