Toy Safety Reminder from The Pittman Firm, P.A.
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 child's rights.