As we head into the holiday shopping season, parents must be concerned about the thousands of dangerous toys and child products on the market these days. Our Coral Springs child injury lawyers know that holiday shopping can be stressful because of the inherent dangers in some products. Just think about all the toys recalled for choking hazards, fall accidents, burn injuries, strangulation dangers and other threats. Determining which toys are defective or harmful can help reduce child toy-related injuries in Broward County and throughout South Florida.
Safe Kids USA reported that from 2000-2005, no fewer than 11 children under the age of 15 lost their life each year in a toy-related death. In 2005, 75,000 toy-related injuries occurred for children under 14 years old, in addition to the 20 toy-related deaths that occurred for that age group that year. Each year there are roughly 217,000 emergency room visits for children injured in a toy-related accident. On average 15 children ages 13 and under die annually from a toy-related accident. Most deaths caused by toys are related to choking, strangulation, or motorized accidents. Balloons and balls cause a severe choking hazard. Riding toys cause severe risk for falls or other injuries in motorized toy accidents. Strangulation incidents are often caused by cords and strings on toys.
Approximately 3 billion toys are sold annually in the United States, many of which are considered dangerous to our children for one reason or another. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps consumers updated on defective products, as well as past and present toy hazard recalls placed on manufacturers.
U.S. PIRG offers these six common toy hazards and tips for injury and death prevention caused by these hazards:
-Choking Hazards: 41 children died between 2005-2009 from choking on balloons, toys or toy parts. Children under 3 years old should never be left with small toys or toy parts that can fit in the mouth. A helpful test is if it fits through a toilet paper tube it isn’t fit for your child. Keep children away from small balls or balloons and always read warning labels for choking hazards.
-Magnetic Toys: Magnets are typically found in toy darts, magnetic building toys or jewelry, and can look like candy when they fall out or become separated. Strong magnets if swallowed can adhere in the stomach or intestine and cause life-threatening injuries. Resist buying toys with magnets and get medical care immediately if a magnet is swallowed.
-Button Batteries used for Watches: Keep button batteries away from small children to avoid potentially fatal injuries caused by choking or internal complications.
-Noise: Toys that make loud sounds can damage a child’s sensitive ears. Remove batteries of noise-making toys or cover speakers with tape to deafen the sound.
-Strangulation Hazards: Mobiles, drawstrings or cords left within reach of infants or small children cause a high risk for strangulation. Remove knobs or beads and keep out of reach, especially as an infant grows and can start to raise themselves to reach for dangling objects.
-Lead and Toxic Chemicals: Many toys are painted with lead or toxic materials. Lead poisoning can affect intellectual and physical development among other things. Read warning labels and resist buying toys with PVC plastic that may contain toxic phthalates. Avoid hazardous products that contain xylene, dibutyl phthalate, or toluene.
Florida PIRG wants to remind parents of the annual publication Trouble in Toyland Toy Safety Report that osreleased each November. This resource can help consumers make informed decisions about which toys are dangerous and what to look for you as begin your holiday shopping.
If you or your child has been severely or fatally injured by a defective product or hazardous toy, contact the personal injury lawyers at Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez, LLC. We represent victims and their families in Miami, Fort Pierce, Hallandale Beach and throughout South Florida. Call today for a free and confidential appointment at 1-800-561-7777.
More Blog Entries:
Fall Hazards from Defective Products Can Lead to Serious Injuries for Families in Palm Beach, Elsewhere, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, August 30, 2011.
Defective Product Injuries in South Florida a Holiday Risk, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, December 7, 2010.