Schmitt Law Firm, LLC

Parents should not assume toys are safe

Toy manufacturers face enormous pressure to succeed this time of year. Having the top toy of the season can make or break an entire year. That pressure may contribute to situations where an unsafe toy is manufactured and sold before the danger it poses can really be understood. For those looking to buy gifts for a child this year, it is easy to assume that toy makers or federal regulators have taken the proper steps to ensure that the products on the shelves are safe. That assumption is, sadly, unsupported by the weight of history.

The worst of the worst

There is no shortage of stories about dangerous and defective toys being sold to unsuspecting consumers. Understanding just how bad things can get tells us all we need to know about how trustworthy the toy industry can be. Over the years, toy companies have exposed children to deadly chemicals, toys that catch fire, dangerous projectiles and more. Toys have been sold that were so dangerous, simply touching them posed a deadly risk. It is never safe to assume that a toy company has given any thought to whether one of its products poses an unacceptable risk. 

Regulators come later

Some parents think that toys go through testing by safety regulators before they can be sold. The truth is that consumers often serve as the testing grounds for the safety of a product. Regulators only get involved after injury reports come in from people who have been harmed. When enough people are injured, toy companies or regulators will recall a defective product.

To reduce the risk, the first thing parents should do is inspect the toy themselves. This can eliminate the most obvious forms of risk. If a toy is a choking hazard or is flimsy, sharp or otherwise dangerous, assume the worst and get rid of it. Some problems, like lead-based paints or toxic components are impossible to spot just by looking. Parents are better off choosing established toys over unfamiliar or brand new options. A toy that has been on the market for awhile might still be dangerous, but the risk is lower. Finally, do a little research online. People may share injury stories on blogs or through social media before a toy is finally removed. If you see reports of kids getting hurt, ask yourself if the risk to your child is worth it.

Defective products injure and kill thousands of people every year. Toys, like any consumer good, can easily reach consumers before undergoing sufficient safety testing. Be safe this holiday season by understanding that any product can pose a risk to your child. 

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Ben Schmitt

Attorney Ben Schmitt

Mr. Schmitt has over 25 years of legal experience in Missouri and Kansas, and he has been first chair in over 100 jury trials in state and federal courts. He is recognized by the Kansas City Business Journal, Super Lawyers, Avvo.com and Martindale Hubbell as one of the best personal injury lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.