Hidden Toy Hazards Can Put Children at Risk

An onslaught of product recalls in the past year has drawn international attention to the fact that many of the products we use in our homes and purchase for our families are not always safe. The toys our children play with are not exempt from these recalls, and in fact, toys are frequently on the top of the product recall list.

More than 550 products were recalled in 2008, and the majority of them were toys and cribs. While a toy might be designed in the U.S., most are made overseas in countries like China, where they don’t have the same standards for safety and quality control. Because of the numerous recalls, class action lawsuits, and the potential dangers to our children, new legislation was passed to increase testing and regulations on many of these products. The legislation, called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, was enacted in Feb. 2009, but the deadline for compliance with the new regulations has been extended until next year.

Essentially, the legislation prohibits the use of lead and certain toxic chemicals in toys and infant products and requires them to be tested before they are approved for sale to consumers. Manufacturers and importers of all sizes of children’s products will not need to test or certify to these new requirements until Feb. 10, 2010, but they must meet the lead and phthalates limits, mandatory toy standards and other requirements. More information about the legislation can be found on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

Until there are better regulations in place for toys, there are a few tips parents can keep in mind when shopping for these products.

  • Read Labels: This information gives age and safety recommendations for each toy.
  • Be Age Appropriate: Certain toys are designed for different ages. Make sure your children’s toys are specific to their age.
  • Small Parts or Magnets: If you have young children, use caution with these types of toys. Small parts or magnets can cause serious injuries if swallowed.
  • Research: Before buying anything, consult the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for the most up-to-date information on recalled products.

Adam Balkan is a partner in the law firm of Balkan & Patterson. As a parent and a Parkland resident, he works to protect our communities and handles all types of personal injury cases, including class actions, product recalls, auto accidents and cases of child or special needs student abuse.

The law firm of Balkan & Patterson serves all types of personal injury, product liability and auto accident clients through Palm Beach and Broward counties, including Boca Raton, Lighthouse Point, Deerfield Beach, Delray Beach and Parkland. For more information, please call us at (561) 750-9191 or visit our website at www.balkanpatterson.com.

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