Keeping kids safe from hazards is a parent’s top priority. Unfortunately, however, some of the gifts under the tree or menorah this holiday season can put children in harm’s way. When shopping for the little ones this year, keep safety in mind and avoid products that can cause injury. Parents should also be aware of defective products that may be on the market.
How can parents keep safety in mind while also bringing the magic of the holidays to their children? Let’s take a look at the top ten toys that are deemed hazardous by the World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.), tips for choosing safe toys, and how product liability comes into play when a child is injured by a defective toy.
2021 Most Dangerous Toys
Each year W.A.T.C.H. releases its list of the top 10 most dangerous toys for the holiday season. W.A.T.C.H. identifies their nominees by looking for hidden hazards that put children at the risk of injury or harm.
The toys on this year’s list are:
- Radio Flyer Spin ‘N Saucer: Manufactured by the popular brand Radio Flyer, this toy has a low-profile saucer that children are encouraged to sit and spin on. The label depicts a child using the toy on a sidewalk, even though the packaging warns to never use it near driveways, streets, roadways, or motor vehicles. This toy brings the potential for impact injuries.
- My First Hoverboard: This two-wheeled hoverboard, sold at Walmart, is designated for ages 5+. The 21-page operation manual instructs users to have “proper training” and cautions the toy can result in serious injury or even death. This toy brings the potential for head injuries and other impact injuries.
- Nerf Hyper Rush-40 Blaster: Although parents associate Nerf products as safe, this Hasbro product warns that the toy is capable of shooting the included ammunition at “extreme speed” and can severely injure the face and eyes if mishandled.
- Rollers Light-Up Heel Skates: Manufactured by Madd Gear and distributed at Walmart, these strap-on skates for children transform shoes into roller skates. Despite the warning to wear protective equipment, the pictures on the box do not show children operating the toy safely. If not used properly, this toy can cause a slip and fall and cause blunt impact injuries.
- Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop and Play: Sold by Target, Amazon, and Walmart, this soft “prop mat” for infants can cause suffocation if not used properly. The included warnings instruct parents to never let babies alone with the product and should never put it in a crib.
- Learn to Play Drum: This drum, designated for ages 12 months-5 years, encourages exploration of “rhythm & sound.” There are no warnings regarding the drumsticks which can be a choking hazard.
- Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins Ninja Strike Sickles: Made by Hasbro, this toy set includes “ninja sickle” plastic blades that can cause facial lacerations and other injuries if misused. The box does include a warning to “not swing, poke, or jab at people or animals.”
- Perfectly Cute My Lil’ Baby Feed & Go Set: Sold at Target, this toy is designed for ages 2+. The doll includes a ribbon in her hair that can be removed, and the included baby bottle can be tempting for small children to mouth and potentially ingest. This toy has the potential for ingesting and choking injuries.
- Squeakee Minis Poppy the Bunny: This small toy is designed to mimic a balloon animal. Children are encouraged to interact with the toy to make it “inflate” and “pop.” The back of the toy has a compartment that contains button or coin cell batteries. If ingested, these batteries can cause internal chemical burns quickly and can lead to death.
- Walmart “My Life As” Shopping Basket: A popular toy for children, this pretend shopping cart sold at Walmart contains more than a dozen miniature food items. Although the items are small and may be a choking hazard, the only warning is on the throw-away packaging. This toy has the potential for choking injuries.
If you’ve already purchased one of the toys on the W.A.T.C.H. list for the holidays, take note of the precautions or return the product to the retailer for a refund. If you have one of the toys already in the toy box, you may want to consider removing it to reduce the risk to your child.
Tips for Choosing Safe Toys
Nothing is more special than seeing the holidays through your children’s eyes! Presents make up a special part of the holidays, and as you are searching for the perfect gift, keep these tips in mind to find safe toys for your family:
- Think big! Little kids love to put almost anything in their mouths. Think “big” when choosing toys for little ones. Toys should be larger than their mouths. A good rule is to choose toys larger than the opening on a paper towel roll.
- Avoid toys that shoot. Eye injuries are a risk with toys that shoot. Even ammunition such as ping pong balls and soft “pellets” can cause injuries when not used properly.
- Choose quality over quantity. It may be tempting to purchase dozens of less expensive toys for the holidays, but oftentimes cheap toys are also unsafe. Look for toys that are well made – buttons should be tightly secured; hems should be tight on stuffed animals, and plastic should be sturdy and hard to break.
- Look for “nontoxic” on the packaging. Believe it or not, some toys can be toxic. Always choose toys that are labeled “nontoxic.”
- Make sure the products are age appropriate. Even if you feel your infant would enjoy a toy made for ages 2+, the toy is likely not safe for use by a baby. If you really love the toy and think your child would enjoy it, purchase it and tuck it away for a future holiday or birthday.
Product Liability for Defective Toys
If you, your child, or someone else in your family is injured or harmed by a dangerous, recalled and defective toy, you have the right to file a personal injury claim. This kind of claim typically falls under the products liability umbrella if the injury can be directly linked to the product.
There are generally three different kinds of product liability lawsuits:
- Design: This is when there is a design defect with the product, and every toy brings the same risk of harm to the user. Design defects often result in recalls.
- Manufacturing: A manufacturing product liability case occurs when the product was incorrectly assembled or manufactured. Manufacturer defects can cause injuries and are eligible for compensation under personal injury law.
- Marketing: Many of the toys on the W.A.T.C.H. list are deemed unsafe because the manufacturer didn’t include the proper warnings or did not include instructions for correct use. Toy companies are required to warn users about the dangers of their products.
Personal injury claims after someone is injured by a toy can help pay for medical bills after the injury. If you know someone who was injured by a toy, reach out to a personal injury law firm to discuss your rights.
Your Local Personal Injury Law Firm in York, Pa.
The personal injury law firm of Dale E. Anstine is your local choice for personal injury cases. We have been fighting for the rights of the injured in Central Pennsylvania for decades. Our attorneys live and work in York and are ready to help you with your case. We understand the ins and outs of the legal system and know product liability claims can be complicated. Let us take on the burden of the legal process for you.
While we hope you won’t need our services for an injury related to a toy or defective product, we are here for you just in case. We offer no-obligation free consultations of your case. Reach out today to learn more about how we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve after an accident and injury.