If you’re in the market for children’s toys this holiday season, whatever you purchase should be safe and appropriate for the little one who’ll receive it. However, given today’s toy-shopping environment, it’s not always easy to identify what is and isn’t safe – especially if you’re shopping online or feeling rushed to act fast and avoid the holiday shipping crunch.
By taking a few moments to educate yourself about the risks associated with children’s toys and what to look for when shopping, you’ll be better equipped to select the safest options.
Child Toy Injury Statistics
Children’s toys aren’t all fun and games. According to data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), an estimated 198,000 toy-related injuries required emergency treatment in a U.S. hospital and nine toy-related deaths in 2020. The data also provides additional insight into toy-related accidents:
- Males accounted for 57% of child toy-related injuries
- 73% of toy-related injuries involved children ages 12 and younger
- 37% of injuries involved children ages four and younger
- Lacerations, contusions, and abrasions accounted for 42% of injuries
- 47% of injuries involved the head and face, the most commonly affected area of the body
- Non-motorized scooters were associated with the most injuries and deaths
- For children under five, leading causes of injury were toy vehicles, toy balls, and building sets
The most common reasons for injury or death identified by the CPSC were airway obstruction, suffocation, aspiration, ingestion, drowning, mechanical asphyxia, and motor vehicle involvement / falls.
Supply Chain Issues & Shipping Delays
While it’s become common for gift-givers to get their holiday shopping done well before the actual holidays, things are a bit different in 2021.
Due to supply chain disruptions and shipping delays arising from COVID-19, toy manufacturers and retailers are telling consumers to shop early to ensure their purchases arrive before the holidays and act fast to buy something when they see it, as there’s no guarantee it’ll be in stock later.
Unfortunately, this messaging and the surrounding supply chain problems could have consequences. Shoppers who feel pressured to buy products before they disappear, for example, may act in haste and buy toys without performing their due diligence. Others may inadvertently purchase fake or recalled toys that find their way onto shelves or online marketplaces to fill in the gaps created by shortages.
Tips for Safe Toy Shopping
With supply chain issues in mind, there are a few simple steps parents and caregivers can take to ensure they’re purchasing safe toys.
Tips for dealing with toy shortages:
- Shop early and take the time to research toys you intend to buy.
- Use CPSC.gov to check if toys have been banned or recalled.
- Always shop from reputable stores and online retailers.
- Scrutinize products, packaging, and labels to verify legitimacy; if the price seems too good to be true, it could be a sign the product is counterfeit.
Other important tips for shoppers:
- Choose age-appropriate toys that fit the child’s interests and abilities.
- Keep small balls, high-powered magnets, and toys with small parts or button batteries away from kids under the age of three.
- Keep deflated balloons away from kids under eight and immediately discard balloons that have popped or won’t inflate.
- Look for a certification mark from an independent testing organization and the manufacturer’s label to ensure you’re buying a legitimate product.
- Look for choking hazard warnings for toys that contain small parts, balloons, marbles, or balls.
- Check for additional safety information from online retailers, especially when shopping for kids.
Helpful tips for parents:
- Inspect all toys your child receives before they use them.
- Read all safety warnings and directions and instruct your child to safely use and care for their new toys.
- If a toy appears to be dangerous or malfunctions, stop using it immediately, store it in a safe location that children can’t access, and report the issue to www.saferproducts.gov.
What to Do After a Toy-Related Injury
Toy-related injuries can be scary experiences. If your child suffers harm while using a toy or game, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention and follow up with doctors as needed. You should also take steps to preserve the toy in a safe location that children cannot access to prevent additional injuries. Preserving the product may be important if you choose to file a complaint or need to have the product inspected.
If you believe your child’s toy-related injury was preventable, you can also have your case reviewed by an attorney. A lawyer experienced in personal injury law can evaluate what happened in your child’s accident and discuss whether there may be grounds to pursue legal action on the basis of negligence, premises liability, or products liability.
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., is an award-winning trial practice that serves clients across NYC and Long Island. If you wish to discuss a potential case, call (212) 577-9325 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.