The holiday season makes December a popular time for purchasing gifts to
celebrate our loved ones, especially the children in our lives. Accordingly,
toys are big business.
The NPD Group estimates that last year, U.S. retail sales of toys were $18.08 billion; December alone
saw a six percent growth over 2013. Whether action figures or dolls, puzzles
or paint sets, models or musical instruments, toys are supposed to be
safe. To help everyone have a healthier, happier holiday season, it’s
important to be aware of the dangers associated with toys.
The excitement that can come along with buying presents for a child can
easily cause the shopper to forget about seemingly dull considerations
such as whether the gifts are age-appropriate or at a suitable skill level.
In an effort to both remind and educate people, Prevent Blindness America
has declared December to be Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month. The Consumer
Product Safety Commission, which closely monitors and regulates toys,
reveals in its report on Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries that an estimated 251,800 people were injured by unsafe toys last year.
Approximately 73 percent of the injuries happened to children younger
than 15 years of age, 69 percent occurred to children 12 years of age
or younger, and 34 percent happened to kids younger than 5 years old.
Between 2010 and 2013, 50 children died in toy-related incidents. Although
some of these fatalities stem from accidents, many are the result of design
or construction defects.
Toys that represent some of the biggest hazards to children can often be
found on the “10 Worst Toys” list issued annually by the non-profit
organization World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.). This
year’s nominees include toys from nationally known brands, ranging
in price from $4.97 to $49.99 and sold at major retailers such as Wal-Mart,
Target, Kmart, Amazon, and eBay. The most common injuries resulting from toys are:
W.A.T.C.H.’s 2015 NOMINEES FOR 10 WORST TOYS
1. “Bud” Skipit’s Wheely Cute Pull Along
2. Foam Dart Gun
3. Stats 38 Quick Folding Trampoline
5. Splat X Smack Shot
6. Kick Flipper
7. Leonardo’s Electronic Stealth Sword
8. Kid Connection Doctor Play Set
9. Pull Along Zebra
10. Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws
- Brain injury/head trauma
- Hearing loss.
So, whether you are buying a gift for a child or are the parent of a child
who receives a gift, keep these guidelines in mind this holiday season:
- Any paint used should be lead-free.
- Any fabric used should be flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Art materials should be nontoxic.
- Follow age and safety recommendations on labels.
- Any piece of a toy that can fit inside a toilet paper roll is a choking
hazard and is not appropriate for kids under age three.
- Don’t buy toys that produce loud noises or shoot projectiles.
- Don’t buy young children toys with strings or cords longer than seven
inches, due to strangulation risk.
- Avoid electrical toys with heating elements for children under age 8.
- Some children mistake fake food as real, which can be very dangerous if
they try to consume it.
- High-powered magnets such as Buckyball magnets and ellipsoid toy magnets
pose dangerous threats if swallowed, and should be kept away from small children.
- Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear.
Now is a good opportunity to brush up on the best ways to keep this time
of year enjoyable and safe for kids. The most important thing that any
adult can do is supervise children at play. Many strangulation, choking
and suffocation tragedies can be easily avoided just by a grown-up paying
attention. Remember that the sentimental value of hand-me-down toys may
be negated by their failure to meet current health and safety standards.
Keep toys intended for older children away from younger ones, and take
the time to instruct children on how to properly use a toy. Also, examine
toys regularly for broken parts, throw away broken toys or repair them
immediately, and store outdoor toys out of the rain to avoid rust.
All consumers have a right to be safe while using a product. If you believe
that your child was injured by a hazardous toy, or if you have any questions
about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the
attorneys at Stabinski & Funt, P.A. For 45 years, we have been the
trusted advocates for countless personal injury victims and their families
throughout South Florida. We offer risk-free consultations and work on
a contingency basis, which means that we do not require you to pay any
fees until we have secured a recovery on your behalf. We encourage you
to contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.