The holidays should be a joyous time filled with family, friends, and festivities. However, this time of year, it's also important to keep in mind the issue of toy safety, especially as your children begin receiving more as gifts from yourself or other family members in celebration.
According to a new report issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, emergency rooms saw an estimated 265,000 toy-related injuries last year alone. And of those injuries, 72 percent affected children younger than age 15. And, even worse, there were 11 reported fatalities reported to be related to toys. As wonderful as it is to see the look on your child's face as he or she unwraps something shiny and new for the holidays, take a step back to ensure that his or her new toy is appropriate from a safety perspective. Common toy threats include:
- Riding toys (tricycles, bicycles) that pose a drowning or fall risk
- Balloons, which pose an airway blocking and asphyxiation risk
- Rubber balls and other small toys, which pose a choking risk
- Stuffed animals, which pose a suffocation risk
When you're shopping for toys for your children, or allow them to access to toys gifted by friends and family, you may not think about the potential hazards parts of the toy may pose to them. The CPSC gives a few guidelines to keep in mind to help keep your children safe.
Guidelines for Toy Safety
- Keep your child's age in mind when buying, and take heed of any age restrictions on the packaging, which are designed to protect younger children from potentially threatening elements, like sharp edges, etc.
- Look for safety labels such as "washable" (especially helpful for maintaining hygiene with stuffed animals) and "flame resistant" before buying
- Read all directions and instructions, as well as precautions (if applicable), and clearly demonstrate the toy's proper function to your children
- Discard of all plastic wrap before giving your children access to toys
- Check toys periodically for any breaks, tears or other potential dangers, which could develop over time after extended use. Discard of any toys in questionable condition immediately.
- Teach your children to put toys away properly to prevent accidental trips and falls.
(See the full list here, and take note of the toy dangers that are most relevant to your children's ages and interests.)
At the law offices of D. Hardison Wood, we want to ensure your family enjoys a safe and happy holiday season. We closely follow product and toy recalls from the CPSC and urge you to do the same, especially if you have young children. When injuries are caused as a direct result of a product's defects or malfunction, product liability laws can hold manufacturers, distributors and other parties involved as responsible. In the unfortunate event that you or a loved one is injured as the result of a toy or product malfunction, please contact our offices today. Our skilled attorneys, who are very familiar with North Carolina product liability law, will discuss with you the details of your case, and will help you decide your best plan of action.