Children are precious gifts that need to be protected in every way possible. Just about every parent in the world tries to do their very best to provide this protection, while still providing an environment that allows children to have fun and be children. One of the ways parents provide their children with a happy environment is to supply toys. Toys are items children have enjoyed for years, but recently, this simple pleasure has become a focal point for a number of injuries and lawsuits. Because of companies trying to save money and cut corners, toys have become items that parents need to monitor closely and even investigate thoroughly before purchasing.
Every year in the United States, more than two hundred thousand children are harmed while playing with toys. These injuries are often serious enough that medical treatment is required. In the year 2004, there were sixteen cases reported of while who died because of incidents involving toys. This has led to a number of recalls of toys, millions in fact, because of a variety of issues with products that are being made overseas.
Because of these issues, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued recalls of a number of dangerous toys, yet for some reason there are still far too many unsafe products on the shelves of stores, or more disturbingly, in the hands of our children. Several major toy manufacturers have issued recalls on millions of products that went to market. These issues were because of small parts that could break off causing choking hazards, lead in paint used on the toys, and even faulty designs that cause children to become harmed with normal use.
The CPSC issued a report in August 2009 of the top ten products and toys for children that are still on the shelves of stores, even though they have been recalled and the products are in direct violation of federal laws. A further study by the organization found that roughly seventy percent of retail outlets sold at least one version of a recalled item or some other form of a hazardous toy.
The items in question included many popular toys such as building sets, sportswear that accompanied certain types of toys, dolls, and toy items that included various types of magnetic components.
Perhaps the most significant issue the CPSC faces is recalling toys that pose choking hazards to children. Most of these toys are made in factories overseas and are sold at discount stores and even dollar stores across the country.
In addition to the large number of recalls because of choking hazards, there was a recent recall on a bead toy for children that was found to be coated with the drug gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB), also known as the date rape drug. There were a number of reports of children ingesting this drug after playing with the toy and becoming quite ill.
In adults, gamma hydroxy butyrate can cause individuals to fall unconscious and it has even led to comas. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported in 2007 that at least two children fell into a coma after placing the beads in their mouths and subsequently swallowing them. Both children did recover, however this situation is extremely alarming. Gamma hydroxy butyrate has also been known to cause hypotonia, which causes the muscles of the body to turn flaccid. The drug got the nickname “the date rape drug” because it is also known to cause temporary amnesia in victims who were slipped the chemical.
The truly scary part of this recall was that more than four million sets of these beads were sold until the time of the recall. The toy was very popular and made it on to major retailer’s top lists for Christmas toys that year. Since that time, most retailers have removed that product from their popular toy lists.
As previously stated, the majority of recalls have to do with choking hazards. Small pieces, small balls, removable toy parts, and even balloons all pose a risk. One parental safety group recommends that parents should use and empty toilet paper tube to check for size of toys. If the toy fits through the tube, it is too small for young children to play with. Along with chocking, strangulation by means of entanglement is also a serious concern.
In recent years, toys that make use of magnets have become quite popular because they are commonly found in building sets. These sets have small magnetic pieces that are often swallowed leading to intestinal injuries. Unfortunately, at least one child has died because of such an injury, and more than twenty four others required emergency surgery.
Even items that may seem innocent enough, such as latex balloons, pose a serious risk to children who are under the age of eight years. It is recommended that children under this age not be given balloons to play with. Packages of balloons that are not yet inflated now come with warning labels that state this recommendation, but those that are sold loose in bins at party stores do not post the warning.
If your child or the child of someone you know has been harmed because of a dangerous toy, it is important that you understand that you have legal rights and you may be able to take legal action to seek damages for the injuries sustained. The best way to proceed is to contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of product liability. He or she will go over the details of your case and determine the best way to proceed.
Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, therefore you do not have to pay anything upfront or as your case progresses through the legal system. This will provide you with a great deal of comfort knowing your case is being handled properly, while not having the extra worry of putting a financial strain on your family. Manufacturers of children’s toys should not go unpunished for harming the innocent victims they harm each and every year.