A holiday toy safety guide – as another season is almost over and hopefully the toys he left under the physical or metaphorical tree will entertain youngsters for hours in 2021 and beyond.
But now it is up to caregivers to be responsible for ensuring that children play safely. Unfortunately, dangerous toys injure hundreds of thousands of children every year.
The vast majority of these injuries are preventable, as outlined below.
That’s good news for obvious reasons but a serious injury could trigger tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Most health insurance companies refuse to pay these costs, for liability reasons. And, many families do not have the resources to pay them out of pocket.
In most cases, a manufacturing or design defect is to blame for these injuries. In these situations, a New York personal injury lawyer might be able to obtain substantial compensation for these families.
Most people know that BB guns and other such toys are potentially dangerous. After all, you could shoot your eye out. But there are a number of other toys that are just as dangerous. Many of the entries on this list might surprise many caregivers.
- Balloons: Among children under 8, uninflated balloons are the leading cause of suffocation death. Some children unintentionally inhale uninflated balloons. Others accidentally swallow pieces of broken balloons.
- Button Batteries: Musical Christmas cards, remote controls, digital watches, and other such items are often powered by button batteries which are smaller than nickels. If swallowed, these batteries could burst and cause serious chemical burns. These tiny batteries also power many hearing aids. Older adults, usually because they mistake these batteries for pills, often swallow them intentionally.
- Movable Soccer Goals: It’s very tempting for caregivers to let children play by themselves in the backyard with these goals. But every year, a number of children are killed or seriously injured when unanchored soccer goals fall on them.
- Trampolines: These popular holiday gifts are arguably the most dangerous toys on the market. Protective nets guard against fall-related head injuries, but they also entangle many children. Additionally, these toys are hazardous even if they have nets and are used responsibly. The repetitive jumping itself could cause a brain injury. Every time children jump, their brains slam against the insides of their skulls.
Caregivers have a moral responsibility to protect their children from these injuries, and they have a legal responsibility to protect other children from these injuries.
Legally, playdate guests are normally invitees.
These individuals have permission to visit the property, and the visit benefits the property owner in a noneconomic way.
Because the relationship is so close, the duty of care is very high. Most owners have a duty of reasonable care. They must ensure the environment is safe and closely watch children to ensure that the environment stays safe.
Some legal doctrines, like the attractive nuisance rule, give even more protection to child injury victims.
Types of Dangerous Products
A combination of lax supervision and a failure to appreciate the risk cause many holiday toy-related injuries. Product defects cause many other such injuries.
The aforementioned button batteries are a good example. The law requires manufacturers to secure button batteries, normally with screws.
But these security measures are often inadequate, due to a:
- Design Defect: Generally to save money, some toy makers take shortcuts during the design process. These shortcuts often include failure to adequately secure dangerous parts, failure to put safety first during the design process, and failure to look at other options which might be safer.
- Manufacturing Defect: Once again to save money, some toy makers use cheap materials during the manufacturing process. Other times, assembly line errors, like a hole punched in slightly the wrong place, go unnoticed and uncorrected. Typically, manufacturers are legally responsible for product safety until toys reach retail shelves.
Since defective products could injure so many people, manufactures are held to a higher standard. In most cases, toy makers are strictly liable for the injuries their defective products cause.
These victims need only prove causation.
Damages in toy injury cases usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Additional punitive damages are often available as well, particularly in defective product claims.
Contact the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for more information regarding holiday gift issues involving injuries that resulted from defective toys, general negligence or recalls.