Why You Really Need A Toy Safety Checklist
Every three minutes a child is rushed into a U.S. emergency room for treatment due to a toy-related injury according to research. The toy safety checklist and other resources in this article will enable parents to minimize the risk of accidents for their children based on the latest research available.
The online shopping trend has revolutionized retail. Many parents have turned to the internet to order their young child’s birthday and Christmas gifts ahead. In 2017, a whopping 51% of consumers’ holiday budget was estimated to be spent online. However, one of the potential pitfalls of buying online is that the parent cannot physically inspect the item for potential safety hazards until it has already arrived. Relying upon other consumer reviews is a smart method, but is it reliable?
Top Toy Safety Resources for Parents
A toy safety checklist is always a good idea, and there are a few continually updated and annual lists that are available for parents to stay up to date on the latest product recalls including toys. It is always better to be safe than sorry when purchasing gifts for your child regardless of the occasion.
The World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H) is a watchdog group that releases an annual list of the worst toys based on safety hazards. W.A.T.C.H also provides a toy safety checklist regarding the top dangers to look out for when you are purchasing toys for your child. According to their guidelines, parents should steer clear of any toys with:
• A lack of instructions, warnings, or age recommendations.
• Battery operated toys marketed to children under eight years of age.
• Any toy that involves fur or hair.
• Toys with strings longer than 6 inches or removable attachments including bells or knobs
• Toy weapons whose ammunition could cause an eye injury or whose realistic play could pose other risks.
• Toys with strings attached for cribs or playpens.
• Toys sold within another item’s box or product line that do not come with any specific instructions for that toy.
• Toys that involve flammable material, toxic components, or ingredients.
• Toys with a function requiring electricity that do not step-down transformers.
• Any toy with small, removable parts that could pose a choking hazard.
• Toys with long handles that may be marketed to older kids.
Product Liability Lawyers and Child Injury
To be forewarned is to be forearmed especially in the instance of child safety regarding toys. If your child is ever injured by a defective product whether it is a toy or other item, the manufacturer or seller may be held liable for these injuries.
There are three categories that a product liability claim can be based upon: a design defect, manufacturing defect, or a failure to warn the consumer of the product’s potential hazards. According to personal injury lawyers located in Washington D.C. at the Koonz Law Firm:
“Strict liability claims focus on the product itself. Under strict liability, the seller may be held legally responsible for resulting injuries if the product is defective, even if the seller used all possible care in the preparation and sale of the product. Strict products liability applies primarily to manufacturing defects in which an individual was using a product in a manner that was foreseeable by the manufacturer.”
The Koonz Law Firm wants to help you win your products liability suit if your child has been injured by defective toys. They offer a free consultation and do not collect fees until you have received a monetary settlement.
Toy Safety Checklist
- Has the toy been recalled? Check this government operated website for accurate updates on the toy industry.
- Is the toy toxic? This website offers a wealth of information on how to determine whether or not a toy is toxic to your child.
- Check the toy for sharp edges, points, or splinters. Will it injure your child if it is stepped on?
- Is the toy sturdy? Many toys are made of brittle or flimsy plastic material that can crack or break apart.
- Ensure that all of your child’s toys are stored at their level. You will also want to anchor heavy furniture to the wall so that they cannot tip and fall on your child. Wall anchoring kits are available for purchase at major retailers.
- Before purchasing stuffed animals, ensure that the stuffing does not pose a choking hazard should the toy rip. Also, check to see if the nose or eyes could be pulled off. Squeakers inside toys, including your pet’s toys, can pose a choking hazard if torn. Is the stuffed toy washable?
- Avoid toy chests or any toy or storage container with hinges that could pinch tiny fingers. In many instances, container lids should be avoided for small children.
- Does the toy have magnets? Check to see if they can become dislodged or loosened so that they do not pose a choking hazard.
- Does the toy have small parts? If your child is under the age of 3, they should not be given a toy with small, removable pieces.
- Does the toy pose a strangulation hazard? Toys should not have strings longer than 6 inches.
- Electric toys should only run on batteries for small children. Make sure your child cannot access the batteries. Battery compartments with screws may be the safest.
- Regularly check your child’s toys for wear and tear including chipped paint and loosened nuts and bolts. Toys need to be thrown away occasionally.
- Is the toy a musical or talking toy? Parents should check to make sure the volume isn’t too loud for young, sensitive ears.
- Make sure the lenses of your children’s sunglasses do not pose a vision hazard. Broken sunglasses can also pose a choking hazard.
- Riding toys should not be tippy or have handles that are at eye level. Utilize child gates to block off stairs and unsafe surfaces.
This is not an exhaustive toy safety checklist by any means. Refer to these websites and other resources when you are researching toys for your child, and please be aware that safety precautions may vary for each toy depending on your child’s age. For example, riding toys including scooters and hoverboards are responsible for 42% of toy-related injuries amongst kids aged 5 to 17 years of age.
In conclusion, it all boils down to simply trusting your gut instincts as a parent when you are buying toys for your kids but consulting a toy safety checklist can be helpful. If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, you need to seek the professional assistance of a product liability lawyer as soon as possible. Don’t allow yourself or a loved one to be victimized by a company that values their profit margin more than your safety!