Every child loves getting new toys for the holidays, and every parent loves seeing their child’s face lighting up as they rip off the wrapping paper. Unfortunately, even the wholesome experience of getting a new toy can be potentially dangerous for your child. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 198,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2020. Nine toy-related deaths occurred that same year among children younger than 15. Thankfully, parents can take some common sense safety precautions to protect their kids, and there are some legal actions you can take if your child does become injured by a defective toy. The Law Office of Andrew S. Maze has put together this guide on defective toy liability to help you protect your children.
Defective Toy Liability Basics
Defective toy liability cases are governed by the same laws of defective product liability as other consumer products like appliances, clothing, and other goods. If a defective toy causes serious injury, the toy manufacturers and distributors may be liable for damages. Compensation may be available for your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, wages you lost while caring for your injured child, and punitive damages against a toy manufacturer.
Liability in toy liability cases is established via either negligence or strict liability. In order to prove negligence, your legal team must prove that the manufacturer violated their duty of care and that this violation was the main cause of your child’s injuries. Alternatively, to prove strict liability, your legal team needs to show that the toy was sold in an “unreasonably dangerous” condition. You also need to prove that the unreasonably dangerous condition existed when the toy left the manufacturer’s control and that this condition directly led to your child’s injuries. In New Jersey, product liability cases have a two-year statute of limitations, so it is important to contact an attorney and file a suit as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
Types of Defective Toy Liability Cases
There are three types of defective toy liability cases: design defects, manufacturing defects, and failure to warn.
If a toy is poorly designed, it can become dangerous to your children. A poorly designed toy becomes defective if it fails to perform as safely as a reasonable person would expect. For instance, if a toy intended for toddlers has small parts that easily break off and create a choking hazard during play.
Sometimes, errors in a toy’s manufacturing process can make it dangerous, even if the design itself is safe. Manufacturing defects include improperly connected parts, the wrong components being used, or a critical part being broken during the manufacturing process.
Failure to Warn
If a toy manufacturer fails to include a warning on the packaging for reasonably anticipated dangers, it could make a toy legally defective. Certain toys could be dangerous in certain reasonably predictable situations, such as small parts that present a choking hazard. Toys like this need a warning label so parents know to keep the toy away from young children.
Toy Safety Tips
Defective toy-related injuries can include choking, lacerations, bone fractures, burns, drowning, puncture wounds, poisoning, brain injuries, and even premature death. Thankfully, there are several common sense tips that parents can follow to protect their kids.
- Monitor toy recall notices.
- Look for red flags when toy shopping.
- Be careful with old and vintage toys manufactured before the institution of modern safety standards.
- Be careful with second-hand toys acquired without their original packaging. Try and find the instructions and warning labels for these products on the internet.
- Buy only flame-resistant stuffed animals and fabric toys.
- If you have young children, watch out for toys with small and detachable parts.
- Examine toys for sharp edges.
- Read the manuals and instructions for toys thoroughly.
- Buy non-toxic art supplies, especially if you have young children who may try to eat them.
- Always thoroughly read and follow toy age restrictions and warnings.
- Report unsafe toys to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Defective Product Attorney Andrew Maze
If a defective toy has injured your child, you need to get in contact with an experienced defective product attorney. The Law Office of Andrew S. Maze is here to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.