Over 3 billion toys and games are sold each year. Toys are meant to be fun enhancements to a child’s life, but occasionally a toy can cause injury or death. Even the most cautious parent can accidentally purchase a dangerous toy. Dangerous toys often get into the hands of children for the following reasons:
- Marketing to the wrong age-group (too young)
- Lacking in warnings or age restriction labels
- Design flaws resulting in defect
- Manufacturing flaws resulting in defect
Common toy dangers include:
- Toys that are too small (choking hazard)
- Toy parts that are too small (choking hazard)
- Latex balloons (choking hazard)
- Sharp points and edges
- Flammable fabrics
- Chemicals which are poisonous if swallowed or explosive if heated
- Cords, strings and handles (strangulation hazard)
- Electrical toys (shock, contact burn, fire hazard)
- Projectile toys
According to Safekids Worldwide:
- In 2003, at least 11 children ages 14 and under died from toy-related injuries. More than half of these children were ages 4 and under.
- In 2003, 64 percent of toy-related deaths were due to choking; 71 percent of these involved toy balls. Other toy-related deaths were due to suffocation.
- In 2003, an estimated 155,400 children ages 14 and under were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries. Children ages 4 and under accounted for 34 percent of these injuries.
- In 2003, nearly 63,000 children were treated in hospital emergency rooms for riding toy-related injuries.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides recall information on toys as well as other products. A recall does not always mean that the toys are removed from stores. The regulations regarding toys are spread out throughout different laws including The Federal Hazardous Substances, The Child Safety Protection Act, and The Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act, among others. There is not a centralized set of standards for toys. This can be frustrating and discouraging for parents and loved ones seeking recourse when a child is injured of killed. Lawsuits involving dangerous toys normally fall under product liability. Those seeking compensation for injuries or death caused by a dangerous toy should seek the advice of an experienced product liability lawyer.