If you’ve been following the news, surfing the internet, or talking to your nervous mother, you may already be aware of many of the risks associated with the holiday season. There are drunk drivers and unattended candles and frostbite to watch out for—not to mention the havoc that sugary holiday fare can wreak on your diet. But there’s one holiday danger that you may not have considered—the potentially dangerous toys hidden in colorful wrapping beneath your tree.
While it seems laughable that a baby doll or stuffed animal could pose a threat, a recent study conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission found that there were over 200,000 toy-related child injuries reported last year alone. According to the study, an additional nine children died because of toy-induced accidents, the majority of which were choking-related.
The Most Dangerous Toys of 2014
If a toy is on a shelf, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is suitable or safe for children. The unfortunate truth is many toy companies prioritize sales over customer safety. World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H) recently released its annual list of 10 worst toys in today’s market, with hazards ranging from potential eye injuries to strangulation. Below are some of the contenders for most dangerous.
Air Storm Firetek Bow. This bow-and-arrow toy shoots arrows up to 145 feet, putting bystanders at risk for serious eye injury.
Radio Flyer Ziggle. Because this four-wheel cycle is so low to the ground, young riders are at a huge risk for being overlooked by oncoming vehicles.
Alphabet Zoo Rock & Stack Pull Toy. With a pull cord measuring 21 inches, this deceptively cheery pull toy poses potential for strangulation and entanglement.
Identifying a Potentially Dangerous Toy
While W.A.T.C.H exposed some of the most common dangerous toys to look out for this holiday season, there may still be many more lurking on the shelves of local retailers, in the play area at your child’s school, or even in your own toy box. To determine whether a toy is safe for your child, here are some potential hazards to look out for:
Magnets. The mini magnets found in darts, jewelry, and building toys can look like candy and be easily swallowed. If magnets attract each other in inside the digestive tract, it can cause ulcerations, infection, and other dangerous complications.
Small parts. Asphyxiation is the number one cause of toy-related fatalities. If your young child is prone to putting things in his or her mouth, don’t buy toys with parts small enough to pass through a paper towel tube.
Toxic chemicals. Older toys may still contain toxic chemicals such as lead and phthalate. Toys frequently found with high levels of harmful chemicals include vinyl lunchboxes, costume jewelry, and toys made of PVC plastic.
Drawstrings and cords. Mobiles, necklaces, and clothing with drawstrings can all be strangulation hazards. Young children should never be allowed to play with strings or cords more than 12 inches in length.
This advice is not meant to turn parents against all toys, but rather to provide them with information on how to recognize and avoid the dangerous ones. Nothing would be more devastating than a young one suffering injury from a Christmas gift or cherished plaything. If your child has suffered harm due to a manufacturer’s negligence, don’t let the company walk away untouched—contact a lawyer with experience in child injury cases. Not only can a skilled lawyer help you receive compensation to provide for your child’s long-term recovery, they can help you raise public awareness of dangerous toys and greedy, irresponsible industry practices.
About the Author:
Ben Murphey is a personal injury lawyer and a partner at the firm of Lawlor Winston White & Murphey. Mr. Murphey has 10.0 Superb AVVO rating, was named Top 1% of Car Accident Attorneys by Car Accident Lawyer, and was named a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers in 2014. Mr. Murphey is based in South Florida but represents people and businesses across the state who have been harmed by the wrongful acts of others.