For many, after the turkey is eaten and the dishes done, the shopping begins.
Parents and grandparents, including the members of our Panama City injury
law firm, seek out those perfect gifts to make kids smile and ensure hours
of fun. When hunting for the perfect toys, shoppers should not only look
for good deals but should also keep toy safety in mind.
Toy Injury Statistics
According to Safe Kids USA (a coalition aimed at preventing unintentional
childhood injuries), an average of 168,000 children aged 14 and under
need emergency room treatment each year due to a toy-related injury. Approximately
half of these injuries involve children under age 5, with emergency room
treatment for that segment totaling $385 million in 2001 alone. Additionally,
since 2000, an average of 20 children have died each year due to a toy-related
incident. While this may seem a small number given that an estimated 3
billion toys and games are purchased annually, even a single accident
is unacceptable - especially when it involves a child in your life.
Toy Safety Tips
The United States Public Interest Research Group provides a useful information
sheet detailing some of the most common toy-related hazards. Parents and
others should beware the potential for the following types of toy dangers:
Choking - This is the most common cause of death due to toys. One useful guideline
is to avoid buying any toy for a child under age 3 if it is small enough
to fit through a toilet paper tube. Manufacturers are required to include
a warning label for toys aimed at ages 3 through 6 if it includes small
parts. Balloons and small balls are also major choking hazards.
Strangulation - Toys, clothes, and other children's products (such as a mobile)
can pose a strangulation hazard. Avoid products with cords or remove/cut
them to avoid an accident such as a drawstring on a hood becoming tangled
on furniture or other objects and strangling the child.
Magnets - Small, powerful magnets are used in building toys, magnetic jewelry,
and a range of other products. Even a single magnet is dangerous if ingested,
but there is a particular danger due to the magnetic attraction if a child
swallows two or more magnets.
"Button" Batteries - These small batteries are used in watches and many electronic toys.
If swallowed, the battery acid can lead to severe, even fatal, internal injury.
Lead/Other Toxins - Although manufacturers have phased lead and toxic phthalates out of
toys, older items such as those sold at garage sales or passed down from
family members can include dangerous chemicals. These can sometimes be
an issue in toys imported from countries with less strict standards. Home
kits can test for lead. PVC plastics can also contain toxic phthalates
that may lead to developmental disorders.
Noise - A less considered danger, but an important one. Children have sensitive
ears that can be easily damaged. US PIRG recommends removing the batteries
or placing tape over speakers if a toy seems too loud for adult ears (which
means it is likely too loud for vulnerable young ears).
Representing Injured Children in Panama City
Accidents happen in even the most prepared home. Toy-related injuries can
lead to a lifetime of expenses, in addition to the immediate medical bills
associated with the injury. If your child is injured by a dangerous toy,
you may have a civil claim against the manufacturer or seller. Please
call our Panama City product liability law firm for help protecting your