Every year, around 3,000 to 5,000 locally made or imported new toys are introduced and made available in the market. Due to this number of toys, plus all the other products under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), consumers, most especially parents, should know that the CPSC cannot test all toys, and that not all toys on store shelves meet CPSC standards.
To keep harmful and injurious toys out of children’s reach, the government has passed federal regulations against use of toxic substances, such as lead paint, and choking parts, like magnets and small parts. Despite these regulations, however, toys that contain these harmful elements continue to slip through and show up on store shelves, continuously putting children’s lives in great potential danger.
There are more than 15,000 different types of products in and around the home and schools that are under the watch of the CPSC. The CPSC is tasked to protect the American public from unreasonable risks of injuries or death associated with the use of consumer products. It accomplishes this task by:
- Banning any type of consumer product that causes danger or has the potential to cause danger;
- Issuing product recalls; and,
- Formulating product safety requirements.
Monitoring over 15,000 different types of products, however, but with only 163 employees (as of March 2012), the CPSC finds it very difficult, if not impossible, to police or test every toy in order to make sure that defective and dangerous ones never make it to store shelves.
Making sure that children’s toys are safe is, first and foremost, the duty of manufacturers. It is these toy makers’ legal responsibility to comply with the standards set by the CPSC, standards which require children’s toys to be free of choking and strangulation hazards, excessively loud noise, projectiles and small parts, like magnets, which may be swallowed, sharp edges that can cause cuts, punctures or lacerations, and toxic chemicals (such as lead, cadmium and phthalates or toxic additives). When buying a toy for their kids, parents have to guard against and keep away from electric toys, and toys with: button batteries and buckyballs (tiny magnets); cords and strings, which can cause strangulation; sharp edges; small parts; loud noises, which can damage hearing; sharp points; and, propelled objects, such as arrows, darts, missiles, and other projectiles.
According to the law firm Mazin & Associates, PC, “When a defective product has caused injury to you or a member of your family, it can be incredibly distressing. It is especially frustrating if you later learn that such an ordeal could have been prevented if certain parties had not acted negligently. To make a claim against a defective product, you must prove that you were not mishandling or misusing the product in a way that would cause injury or negative side effects.” A seasoned personal injury lawyer may be able to help greatly in a legal pursuit against the maker of a defective toy.