Child Injuries and Toy Safety During the Holidays

As a leading California and national law firm in the area of child and infant safety, we begin our series on holiday safety — this time our focus in on toys. As parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles go out to purchase toys for the children in their lives and as we donate toys to toy drives, it is very important to pay attention to what we are purchasing for kids.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “stronger federal rules are making a positive impact and restoring confidence in the safety of toys.” Toy safety at this time of year is vital to the health and happiness of our children. The federal government cannot totally stop manufacturers from making unsafe toys that end up harming children, but they are trying to make toys safer and we applaud that effort. Most often, recalls happen because several children have already been injured and we learn that a toy or crib or crib bumper is unsafe after the fact.

The federal agency has noted that safeguards are now in place for important areas of child safety. For example, lead content has been limited, voluntary toy standards are now mandatory standards, there is now third party testing and certification required for toys designed for children under 12, there are new limits for cadmium in toys, and the agency is now working closely with Homeland Security to track and seize dangerous toys coming into the country from other countries.

The statistics show that toy recalls have declined since 2008 in which there were 172 toy recalls. In 2011, there were 34 toy recalls; in 2010 there were 46 and in 2009 there were 50 toy recalls. Choking deaths were up slightly in the past couple of years. So parents must be vigilant to ensure that their older children’s toys are not within reach of their younger children. Holiday wrapping should be kept away from small children as well.

One rule that we all must remember — keep balloons, small balls, small toys and toy parts away from small children which can be forgotten in the moment of holiday gift giving excitement. Something that parents and grandparents should also know is that non-motorized scooters are the one “toy” associated with the most injuries. These injuries range from such injuries as abrasions to lacerations. Safety, such as helmet use, is important to child safety with these scooters. Finally, be aware of battery chargers and their use. They can get warm and cause injury. Kids need to be supervised in charging batteries.

San Francisco, California’s Hersh & Hersh has been at the forefront of child safety for decades. We were instrumental in the national recalls of unsafe cribs and basinettes. We have represented families whose children have been injured, or have tragically died due to an unsafe product. Please contact our law firm for a free consultation with one of our lawyers with regard to any injury or child injury matter.