From building blocks to teddy bears to model cars, all types of toys can bring a smile to a child’s face, and to the faces of parents watching their child play. Parents shopping for toys often think about the personality and interests of their child, as well as their age and maturity level. They also should not overlook safety concerns related to toys. If a label on a toy advises its use for certain age groups, for example, a parent should not get that toy for a younger child. When buying a toy, they should carefully review any directions for its safe use and communicate these instructions to the child as needed. When a child is not playing with a toy, parents (or the child if they are old enough) should store the toy safely rather than leaving it in the open. If parents have children of different ages, they may want to talk with their older children about the importance of keeping their toys away from their younger children.
As much as children enjoy them, toys can pose significant hazards to the unwary. These include sharp edges and sharp points, which can cause lacerations. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission prohibits sharp points in toys intended to be used by children under eight years old. These toys also should not contain sharp glass or metal edges. Small parts can cause choking and are banned in toys intended for children under three years old. Cords and strings can cause strangulation when wrapped around the neck of a young child. Toys that produce loud noises can harm a child’s hearing, while toys in the form of projectiles can harm a child’s eyes.
Check Old Toys for Safety
When a toy breaks or wears down, hazards may arise that did not exist when the parent bought the toy. These might include rust, splinters, or sharp edges. If a parent cannot thoroughly repair a toy, they should discard it.
Suing for Injuries Caused by a Defective Toy
Even if parents take all possible precautions, a child still may suffer injuries from a defective toy. Companies that make or sell toys are required to put safe products on the market. If a toy contains a defect, its maker or seller may be liable for the harm that results. A defect may involve the manufacturing or design of a toy. While a manufacturing defect indicates a problem with a specific item, a design defect arises when the blueprint for a product poses unreasonable risks. Another type of defect is known as a marketing or warning defect. This occurs when a company does not provide appropriate instructions or safety warnings to consumers.
If any of these defects caused their child’s injuries, parents can recover compensation from a manufacturer or other entities in the chain of distribution. This can help them cover the costs of medical care for their child and other out-of-pocket expenses. If a child suffers a long-term or permanent injury due to a defective toy, parents can recover the costs of future treatment and any home modifications or other adjustments needed to account for a disability. Compensation also may include damages for the child’s pain and suffering.
If a company engaged in serious wrongdoing, punitive damages may be awarded. These go beyond compensating a victim to punish a defendant and send a message to other companies that this conduct has consequences. State laws vary on what a plaintiff needs to prove to get punitive damages.
Parents may think that the fault of a manufacturer or another company is obvious, but these cases are not always as simple as they look at first glance. They may require retaining expert witnesses and following nuanced procedural rules. Thus, it may make sense to contact an attorney who knows how to handle products liability cases. These lawyers usually offer free consultations and do not charge fees unless they get a settlement or judgment for a client.