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Common Defects in Children's Toys & What To Do If Your Child Is Injured

UPDATED: September 4, 2014

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No parent expects their child to be injured by a toy, and manufacturers are required to design a product safely or warn against potential hazards. But dangerous toys continue to make it to store shelves. While some of these defects are visible, such as sharp edges, other defects may be hidden. Simply looking at toys is not always enough to identify their risks. Here are some common defects found in children’s toys. You can find an updated list of product recalls (including toys, children’s clothing, and baby equipment) at the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website

Design and Manufacturing Defects

A flaw in the design or manufacturing of a toy accounts for some defects. Small pieces of a toy may be poorly attached and can break off and be ingested, putting a child at risk of choking or suffocation. And larger pieces that detach may cause cuts and lacerations. Additionally, some toys contain ribbons, strings, and cords that can strangle a child. Stuffed animals made with zippers pose the risk of a child choking on the interior stuffing. And certain toys are designed to look like candy, enticing young children to eat them and later suffer intestinal blockage. Other products with a design or manufacturing defect, especially electronic toys, put children at risk of burns and shock.

Missing or Incomplete Warnings

Many toys contain warnings that children can choke or suffocate. But other toys, especially those in which a smaller piece is part of a larger toy, may not contain a warning. And while older children may not be at risk of putting small pieces of toys in their mouths, they remain at risk of choking from toys like latex balloons.

Presence of Chemicals

Children's products may contain substances that pose risk of toxic inhalation, contact dermatitis, and eye irritation. Lead, a poisonous substance in many children's toys, puts small children at a particularly high risk of danger because they are more likely to chew and suck on toys. A child does not have to swallow the toy to consume lead. Harmful chemicals are typically found in toys like children's play jewelry, chalk and painted toys. Toys imported from countries with fewer restrictions on the manufacture of children’s toys should be scrutinized for hazards, such as lead.

What To Do If Your Child Is Injured

As a parent of a child who has sustained or may have sustained injuries because of a defective children's toy, it is important to first ensure the safety of your son or daughter. Contact the emergency department immediately and have your child diagnosed by a physician in order to have the injury treated and to avoid further damage. Document the incident in writing and keep all medical records belonging to your child.

In addition, save any pieces of the toy and information, such as the toy name, the manufacturer's name, and the serial number of the product. Do not attempt to fix the product, and do not destroy the toy or return it to the manufacturer. The dangerous product should be maintained in the condition it was when it harmed your child.

Finally, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney. Your particular situation can be investigated and evaluated should you wish to pursue a lawsuit to recover damages for your child’s injuries.

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