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5 Common Hazards Associated with Toys

Published: Apr 04, 2022 in Product Liability
Wooden child's toys

While any unsafe or defective product can cause serious harm, toys are among the most frightening faulty items. Parents buy toys to entertain and educate their children, assuming they have been thoroughly tested and vetted.

When an unsafe toy causes injury or death, it’s a tragedy. As a parent, you should know the top risks associated with toys to make informed buying decisions.

1. Choking Hazards

Toys that increase a child’s risk of choking are a severe issue, particularly for toys accessible to babies and toddlers. This includes both toys with small pieces, larger toys with pieces that may unintentionally detach, or toys with long, narrow pieces that can get stuck in a child’s airway.

In 2022, Lovevery recalled a toy drinking cup when it was discovered that the handle could detach and cause a choking risk. A similar recall in 2021 involved a Ryan and Rose toy spoon. Wooden puzzles and plastic toolsets are other toys that commonly pose choking hazards.

2. Suffocation Risks

Toys designed for infants may become a suffocation risk if they are large enough to cover a baby’s airways. The risk increases if the toy is heavy enough that a child would struggle to move it from their face. If a manufacturer markets a toy for use while a child sleeps, they could be liable if a baby suffocates.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep with nothing in their crib, including stuffed animals and toys. Toys marketed to help children sleep or soothe babies to sleep put manufacturers at risk of lawsuits.

3. Button Batteries

Button batteries are everywhere in the news. Thousands of children are injured by button batteries every year, and several of those cases lead to tragic deaths. Numerous recalls highlight this risk.

Reese’s Law would force manufacturers to make secure compartments for button batteries. This law was proposed after 16-month old Reese died after swallowing a remote control’s button battery.

Despite valiant rescue efforts, the battery caused chemical burns that led to her death. Since many toys still use button batteries, parents should be extra cautious about allowing their kids to have these toys.

4. Lead-Based Paint

Despite federal laws prohibiting the excessive use of lead-based paint, many toys are still found to use this toxic substance. Early 2022 saw the recall of wood wagons with an excess amount of lead-based paint in their covers, which put kids at risk of lead poisoning.

The primary risk occurs when children ingest the paint, which is always possible with babies and toddlers. A fishing toy game sold through Amazon also contained excess amounts of lead, as did a science experiment kit marketed towards children of all ages.

 5. Fire Hazards

A wide variety of toys have been recalled because they were found to pose a fire hazard. One recent recall involved a menorah set sold by TJ Maxx and other stores owned by the same corporation. Toys with remote controls are often at risk of catching fire if the remote control’s components short circuit.

Establishing Liability for Hazardous Toys

Manufacturers spend a substantial amount of money on legal fees to protect themselves from costly lawsuits. Without representation, you will go up alone against an experienced team of corporate attorneys. Your attorney could fight for compensation if your child used the toy as intended and became injured.

If a toy is listed as appropriate for an older child and a younger child chokes on it, results vary. Parents are expected to keep toys too old for their children.

However, the manufacturer may still be liable if a toy is marketed toward younger children or has components that could reasonably be expected to be unsafe for children. Claims may be made for products designed improperly, marketed incorrectly, or manufactured in an unsafe manner.

Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. Can Help with Personal Injury Claims

Do you need an attorney for your defective toy personal injury claim?

At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we know that a defective toy can have devastating consequences. When a toy manufacturer fails to protect your child, we hold them accountable. You can call us at (205) 933-1500 or contact our team online to schedule a consultation.