What Are the Most Prevalent Hazards Associated With Children’s Toys?
Various factors can make a toy dangerous, ranging from manufacturing or assembly defects to the design itself. The risk of harm tends to be higher for younger children, as they are more likely to encounter certain dangers.
Small toys and toys with detachable parts pose a choking risk for young children who may put these objects in their mouths.
Examples of toys that pose a choking risk include small action figures, toy cars, or dolls with detachable clothing or accessories. Young children may be tempted to put these small parts in their mouths, potentially causing them to choke.
Toys With Projectiles
Even toys with soft projectiles, like foam or rubber, can cause injury if misused, such as aiming at the face or eyes.
Toy guns that shoot foam darts, such as Nerf guns or rubber band guns, can cause injury if misused. For example, a child might aim the toy at another child’s face or eyes, leading to bruises or more severe injuries.
Extreme Sports Gear
Poorly made or inadequately maintained skateboards, scooters, or bicycles can lead to dangerous falls and injuries. For example, a young child riding a skateboard with loose or damaged wheels may lose control and fall, resulting in cuts, bruises, or broken bones.
Toys with cords, loops, or fabrics that can be undone may become entangled around a child’s limbs. A young child might accidentally wrap the cord around their neck while playing, cutting off the air supply and potentially causing injury or death.
Sharp and Pointed Objects
Toys like plastic swords, building sets with sharp-edged pieces, or craft kits with scissors or needles can lead to injuries. A child playing with these toys might accidentally cut themselves or stab a playmate, resulting in lacerations or puncture wounds.
Toys made from hazardous materials, such as lead-based paints or plastics containing phthalates, can lead to poisoning if ingested or handled excessively. For example, a young child might chew on a painted wooden toy or teething ring that contains lead, leading to lead poisoning and associated health risks.
Parents and caregivers must be vigilant when selecting toys for young children, considering potential hazards and ensuring that the toys are age-appropriate and free from defects. Regularly inspecting toys for wear and tear, as well as supervising children during play, can help prevent accidents and injuries.
How Is Product Liability Law Relevant to Dangerous Toys?
Product liability law generally categorizes defects into three areas: manufacturing defects, design defects, or lack of (or ineffective) warning labels.
Manufacturing defects occur during the production or assembly process when a product or component does not adhere to its intended design, causing malfunction.
Design defects refer to issues with the product’s intended design itself.
The third category, warning labels, can be more complex, as appropriate warnings depend on the toy’s intended age group.
Manufacturers often place age recommendations on their products to alert parents of potential hazards for younger children. These labels are primarily for the benefit of parents, who are responsible for purchasing and approving the toys their children play with.
What Can I Do if My Child Was Injured by a Dangerous Toy?
The law allows plaintiffs to seek damages through a strict liability principle to emphasize consumer safety.
To succeed in this type of claim, plaintiffs must prove the following:
- When designed, manufactured, or sold, the product was unreasonably unsafe or dangerous.
- The retailer or seller expected the product to reach consumers unchanged.
- The product injured the plaintiff.
The Product Was Unreasonably Unsafe or Dangerous When Designed, Manufactured, or Sold
To prove this element, the plaintiff may present expert testimony from a product design or manufacturing specialist who can explain why the toy was unsafe. They may also provide evidence of similar incidents involving the same toy or compare the dangerous toy to safer alternatives available on the market.
Additionally, the plaintiff can present any relevant internal company documents, such as emails or memos, that show the manufacturer knew about the dangerous design or defect but chose to sell the toy anyway.
The Retailer or Seller Expected the Product to Reach Consumers Unchanged
To establish this element, the plaintiff could provide documentation, such as invoices or shipping records, showing that the toy was delivered to the retailer or seller in its original packaging and without any modifications.
Testimony from the retailer or seller may also help demonstrate that they received the toy in the same condition it was sold to consumers.
Alternatively, the plaintiff can show that the dangerous condition was present at the time of sale and could not have been created or altered after the product left the manufacturer’s or seller’s possession.
The Plaintiff Was Injured By the Product
To prove that the dangerous toy injured the plaintiff, they can present medical records documenting the injury. They can also present photographs of the injury and the toy in question.
In some cases, expert medical testimony may be necessary to establish a causal link between the toy and the injury. Additionally, the plaintiff may provide witness statements from people who saw the incident or can attest to the circumstances surrounding the injury.
No proof of negligence or recklessness on the defendant’s part is necessary. While strict liability is typically the best choice for toy injury claims, negligence claims may be more appropriate in some states based on specific circumstances. A lawyer can advise on the best course of action for your situation.
Product liability law holds the entire supply chain accountable for consumer harm, meaning retailers, distributors, assemblers, and manufacturers can all be held liable for damages. Product liability law allows plaintiffs to continue seeking damages even if one party in the chain becomes insolvent, for example.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Dangerous Toy Lawsuit?
If a dangerous or defective toy has injured your child, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills and other losses. Since state laws regarding product liability and personal injury claims vary, consulting with a defective products lawyer is crucial to ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your family.
LegalMatch is an online legal matching service that can connect you with a defective products lawyer who handles dangerous toy lawsuits. To use LegalMatch, provide information about your case and your location. LegalMatch will then match you with a qualified lawyer in your area with experience in the relevant area of law.
Once you are matched with a lawyer, you can schedule a consultation to discuss your case in detail. During the consultation, the lawyer can provide you with legal advice, explain your legal options, and help you understand the strength of your case. They can also provide guidance on how to proceed, negotiate with the toy manufacturer or seller, and represent you in court if necessary.
Use LegalMatch to help you find a qualified lawyer who can provide you with the legal guidance you need to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.