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Toy Safety Tips for Your Holiday Shopping

For parents of small children, the holidays are both fun and stressful. In addition to picking out the perfect presents, parents also want them to be safe.

While toy safety has improved in recent years, dangerous and defective products can still be found on store shelves. In 2014, more than 2.7 million units of children's toys were recalled. Common defects include excessive lead and phthalates, as well as small parts. Most recently, “Build-A-Bear” recalled 34,600 stuffed animals because a seam could tear and expose the stuffing, which posed a choking hazard for young children.

Preventing Toy-Related Injuries

Approximately 183,800 toy-related injuries and 11 deaths occurred last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The statistics confirm that parents must still be vigilant when selecting toys for their children.

To help avoid toy hazards, the CPSC recommends that gift givers select age appropriate toys by carefully reading the age label on the toy. For children younger than three, it is imperative to avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking. Ride-on toys are consistently linked to fall-related injuries. Accordingly, the safety agency warns that children should wear properly fitted helmets and safety gear. Lastly, whether marketed for children or adults, building and play sets with small magnets should also be kept away from small children at all times.

The Most Dangerous Toys of 2015

With the increase in online shopping, parents often don’t have the ability to inspect a toy prior to purchasing it. Therefore, it is advisable to do your research before buying online. Every year, the World Against Toys Causing Harm Inc. (WATCH) publishes a list of the most dangerous toys. The organization has been evaluating potential safety flaws and dangers in toys for more than three decades and, each year, identifies 10 toys it considers hazardous. Below are some of the toys that the organization found to be the most dangerous for 2015:

  • Skipit’s Wheely Cute Pull Along: The pull toy is marketed for infants as a “friend” who’s “ready to roll.” However, it could pose serious choking risks. Although certain lots of these toys were recalled in June because the hubcaps can break off, WATCH recently purchased a similar toy, which posed the same risks.
  • States 38 Quick Folding Trampoline: The product’s packaging warns that “landing on the head or neck can cause serious injury, paralysis, or death, even when landing in the middle of the bed.” According to WATCH, the toys are so dangerous that they shouldn’t “be sold as a playtime activity for young children.”
  • Poo-Dough: While the appropriateness of the toy is certainly debatable, it also poses a serious health hazard for some children. The product contains an “allergy notice” on the throwaway packaging that the dough contains wheat. As WATCH notes, allergic reactions to wheat include symptoms ranging from hives, headaches and difficulty breathing, to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
  • Splat Z Smack Shot: The slingshot type toy is capable of firing up to 100 feet. The many warnings and cautions include “alerting” anyone within “close distance to the intended target….”
  • Kick Flipper: The toy is a rigid plastic board marketed as a skateboard without the wheels Children are encouraged to “[l]earn tricks” and “Kick it! Flip it! Pop it!” As WATCH highlights, the manufacturer makes no mention of safety gear, and the children pictured on the packaging are not wearing helmets or other protection.

If your child or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a dangerous or defective toy, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego product liability lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Our legal team has successfully represented clients against manufacturers and distributors for more than 30 years.