With the largest in-store and online shopping days upon us, the non-profit group World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) revealed its nominees for this year’s “most dangerous” children’s toys.
Parents and caregivers need to know what dangers to look for when purchasing toys for children this holiday season and year-round. Unfortunately, many deaths and injuries to children have occurred as the result of poorly designed and manufactured toys. Many toy-related injuries can be prevented with safer designs, stronger regulations, and education about the dangers lurking within toy boxes. The recurrence of many known toy hazards, coupled with an abundance of recalls this past year, clearly suggest a broken system in need of fixing to keep children safe. Since W.A.T.C.H. released its last “10 Worst Toys” advisory, there have been at least 29 toy recalls representing over one million units of dangerous toys in the United States and Canada.
More than three billion toys and games are sold each year in the U.S. In 2011, an estimated 262,3000 toy-related injuries resulted in emergency room visits; 13 were fatal according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Classic toy dangers reappear year after year, including small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials, and inaccurate warnings and labels. Even though these hidden hazards have led to many injuries in children, including death and brain damage, they can still be found in newly designed toys. The CPSC issued 20 toy recalls due to choking and/or ingestion risks during the last 12 months. Toys representing a choking hazard to children should no longer be manufactured. Consumers have a right to expect the toys they select for their children are designed with safety as a priority.
The responsibility to identify known hazards in toys must lie with manufacturers and retailers, not with consumers. Seeing a familiar store name or a familiar name on a package can lead to a false sense of security that a toy purchase is safe. While proper labeling, regulations, and recalls are important for toy safety, toy manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure safe products reach the marketplace. Certain toys on toy store shelves may be in compliance with industry or regulatory standards, but are clearly dangerous, proving the gross inadequacy of existing standards. The number of toy recalls and injuries to children are clear evidence of substandard manufacturing practices, and inadequate premarket testing.
For the full list of 2013’s Dangerous Toys, see W.A.T.C.H.’s press release. Please focus on safety as you shop for your loved ones this Black Friday online and in stores. We at Watts Guerra LLP wish you and your family a safe and healthy holiday season.
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