A new report recently released by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) entitled, “Playing with Safety: Dangerous Toys and the Role of America’s Civil Justice System,” highlights some dangers that are hidden in popular toys today that consumers may not be aware of. Despite rigorous safety standards, which were recently improved, there are still unforeseen toy hazards. The AAJ makes the case that these hazards show there is a strong necessity for a civil justice system to protect children and hold negligent toy manufacturers liable.
The full report can be viewed at www.justice.org/toys.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there have been over 850 toy product recalls since 1974. Many of these recalls were due to the presence of lead, magnets, and other hazards that were hidden in children’s toys. Toy-related injuries rose by 12 percent between 2004 and 2008. Alarmingly, these injuries have risen by a shocking 54 percent over the past 10 years.
These injuries are directly related to the under-resourced CPSC, which is flooded with new products that enter the United States marketplace. Many consumers may not be aware that the U.S. imports over 30,000 tons of toys from foreign markets annually, which accounts for approximately 95 percent of toys that are sold in the county. There were only 15 inspectors to monitor U.S. ports for all products until 2007. Only one of these inspectors was allotted to conduct toy safety tests. One repercussion of the CPSC’s regulatory powerlessness is that dangerous products may be on store shelves for years before the public is aware of their dangers. An analysis by Public Citizen of consumer recalls discovered that manufacturers waited an average of 993 days before informing the CPSC of defects. The agency then waited an extra 209 days before alerting the public.
Additionally, other nations do not have regulations that are as strict as America’s. For instance, dangerous levels of cadmium were discovered to be present in jewelry for children earlier this year. Cadmium is a metal that toxic and cancer-causing. It was ranked number seven on the federal government’s list of substances known to be most hazardous. The resulting investigation discovered the metal’s origin was China, where the use of the toxic metal was prompted by their recent lead prohibition.
All consumers need to be aware of the hazards that toys can pose to their children, even if the product is used properly. There may be inherent dangers that are present in the toy, or defects that even the manufacturer isn’t yet aware of. When holiday shopping this year, parents should pay great attention to toy product safety.
The unsafe toy lawyers at Anapol Weiss have handled many cases involving child injury and a defective toy. Call us today at 866-735-2792 to speak with one of our attorneys who can help you determine whether you have a substantial case against a toy manufacturer. We offer free consultations.