As the holidays roll around, parents throughout the country are trying to figure out what their kids will unwrap. In uncanny timing, the largest study of its kind was just released, reporting on children’s hospitalization rates from toys. Product recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm recently wrote a blog on this very subject, and hope to further detail this related study.
Researchers looked at data from the past 20 years, finding that a child received emergency treatment from a toy-related injury every three minutes in the United States during that time. On average, nearly 150,000 children were sent to emergency rooms each year.
Fortunately, the large majority (about 98%) of injuries were non-life-threatening, and the kids were treated and released. For those who had to have extended stays in the hospital, the majority of the injuries were due to ride-on toys, such as scooters.
Further reinforcing how dangerous these items are, researchers noted a significant increase in ER visits between 2000 and 2003, when scooters boomed in popularity. It is worth noting that this study analyzed only non-fatal injuries, such as falls, swallowing or inhaling, collisions, etc.
Rideable toys, like electric-powered mini-cars, scooters, wagons and bicycles, accounted for more than a third of all toy-related injuries. As every parent knows, however, every year there is an influx of the new hot toys on the market. The organization W.A.T.C.H. releases a list of the 10 Worst Toys each year. This year, the Air Storm Firetek Bow landed the top spot.
The Air Storm shoots glowing darts, which at short range can be quite harmful, potentially causing bleeding, retinal detachment, or cataracts. The toy does not come with any kid of glasses or googles. The Radio Flyer Ziggle, a four-wheeled cycle, also made the list. On its packaging, it warns that the Ziggle should not be used near pools, sloped driveways, motor vehicles, hills, steps, or streets. This leaves many wondering how it could be used safely.
The list is not meant to punish manufacturers, merely to warn parents about the potential risks of certain products. Parents should use their best judgment when buying toys for their kids – just because it is on store shelves does not necessarily mean it is safe.
Other products making the W.A.T.C.H. list include a hammer for killing Orcs, a Bottle Rocket Party, toy gun, and a pencil-slash-catapult. These are fairly obvious just by the name, but there are others that are not as obviously dangerous: a babydoll with a removable bow, a toy with long and unsecured hair, and an alphabet pulling toy for toddlers. Check out the full list here.
The study authors noted that many injuries could be prevented if toys were better designed and more heavily regulated – often, toy companies are able to skirt regulations by labelling toys in a specific way or exploiting other loopholes.
Furthermore, as we have outlined several times, product recalls are extremely ineffective and rarely reach those who have already purchased the item. Only 5% of recalled products are ever returned to the manufacturer, leaving 95% in homes, being used by children. Too often, these recalled items wind up on Craigslist or garage sales, placing ever more children at risk.
The team of product recall lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm has over 30 years of experience fighting on behalf of injured victims, including children and their families. If you or someone you love was seriously hurt by a defective or dangerous product, contact our firm immediately for a free legal consultation.