With the holiday season in full swing, local retail stores are especially busy. Crowds are large in this busiest shopping season of the year, especially for all the latest trends in fashion, technology, and the always popular toys for the little ones. In the time-old tradition of wrapping up new toys in shiny paper and bows under the tree, the youngest members of the family look forward to Christmas morning where they run to the tree in their pajamas and tear open the paper to discover new toys they have been gifted for being good little girls and boys. Year after year families look forward to this morning where they can sit around the tree and enjoy this time with their child loved ones in the family.
While we buy these toys for our youngest loved ones to bring them fun and joy, it is also important to know whether these toys will instead do the exact opposite and put these little ones in harm’s way instead. Unfortunately, there are many toys on the market currently that could actually bring danger to children and cause them injury, instead of providing the amusement and joy we intended to bring them. This is especially disheartening because these young people do not know to look out for dangers nor do they have the mental maturity to grasp a danger when one is before them. Instead, they trust that the toys they play with will not harm them.
Our lawyers care about keeping children safe from harm and in aiding parent/guardian consumers in protecting their young ones. That is why we choose to blog about potentially dangerous toys that are currently on the market and dangers to look out for. Under product liability law, it is the legal responsibility of a store and manufacturer to provide safe goods to consumers. This means that they must inspect products for defects and dangers, remove dangerous goods from the market, and warn consumers of discovered dangers. Where consumers are injured as a result of a store or manufacturer failing to do any of the above, the consumer can hold the store and manufacturer accountable for their injuries and suffering in a product liability lawsuit.
In a recent article by CBS, there are several potentially dangerous toys that consumers should be aware of this holiday shopping season. Many toys on this list can pose choking hazards from small parts, danger to children’s hearing from loud noise, and risks for toxic substance exposure. For instance, Dragster cars pose a choking hazard to children under the age of 3. However, many consumers are unaware of this because the warning label on the toy is much too small to read. Similarly, Miniature Bowling by Cool Novelty Products Inc. also contains a choking hazard warning, but it is concealed by the manufacturer’s label. Additionally, a backpack consisting of a children’s favorite cartoon icon, Dora the Explorer, has not disclosed the amount of phthalates in its materials. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act bans concentrations of phthalates higher than 1000 parts-per-million. The chemicals, found in plastics, are tied to increase risk of premature births, birth defects, and early onset of puberty and low sperm counts. Furthermore, children could be exposed to more harmful substances, such as lead. In 2001, regulations were passed that mandated that children’s products could not contain more than 100 parts-per-million of lead, but there could be existing toys on the market that are older than when this limit was instated. For instance, the Morphobot toy by GreenBrier International Inc. was tested to contain 180 parts-per-million of lead.
The Illinois Attorney General also recently released her 2014 Safe Shopping Guide, which elaborates on recently recalled known and potentially dangerous toys. One example is the Toys “R” Us Toy Toaster Sets, which were recalled this October because the toast can crack and break into small pieces creating sharp edges and posing a choking hazard. Additionally, the Dynacraft Avigo Youth Bicycles were recalled in July because the front wheel can detach, causing a child to suffer a fall. Another recently recalled toy is the Leatherman Leap Children’s Multi-tool. This was recalled in late November because the lock mechanism on the optional knife blade can release the blade involuntarily and cause a child to suffer a laceration. Also recalled in November was the Hello Kitty Birthday Lollipop Whistle. Components inside of the whistle can detach and pose a choking hazard to children.
In addition to toys, the Illinois Attorney General warns about other children’s products, like furniture and gear. Like we discussed in our recent blog, several Graco strollers were recalled in late November because the folding hinge can cause amputation of a child’s finger. Recalled in August, American Woodcrafters Bunk Beds can pose a falling hazard because the support rails can break. Additionally, as discussed in one of earlier blogs as well, bean bags have recently been at issue because the zippers can be opened by children who then crawl inside and suffocate. The Attorney General also warns about Franklin & Ben Mason 4-in-1 Convertible Cribs. Recalled in August, the crib front can separate from the inside panels, which creates a gap allowing the child to fall out become trapped between the panels.
Our firm understands the importance of providing safe toys to children and safe goods to consumers of all ages. Because we are passionate about the safety of our Chicagoland community, we have devoted our practice to advocating for injured victims in a wide range of personal injury lawsuits. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season and hope that it is a time of joy for you, not worrying about your little one’s safety. However, if you or a loved one becomes injured due to the negligence of another, it is wise to seek counsel from a legal professional. We offer free consultations, and would always be happy to sit down and talk with you about your legal concerns.