Full of holiday spirit and winter weather, the month of December is also the time for end- of-the-year lists. It seems everywhere you turn, someone has compiled a ranking of the year’s best and worst movies, songs, shows, fashions, etc. Children’s toys – an industry generating approximately $22 billion dollars in sales each year in the United States alone — are no different. Every year for the past four decades, a non-profit organization called World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) has issued a “10 Worst Toys” list in the hopes of educating parents and discouraging them from buying potentially dangerous toys.
The 2015 list includes nominees from nationally known brands that range in price from $4.97 to $49.99. The nominated toys are sold at major retailers such as Target, Toys R Us, Kohl’s, Kmart, Wal-Mart, Amazon, and eBay, and are designed and marketed for sales over safety. W.A.T.C.H. notes that to make a toy seem more appealing, advertising efforts are often inconsistent with a toy’s own safety instructions. For example, one 2015 nominee intended for children as young as six years old warns them that the product should be used “only with adult supervision,” yet the child pictured on the box is all alone.
Just because a toy is available for purchase does not mean it’s automatically safe for children. The toys on W.A.T.C.H.’s list are not the only potentially hazardous toys on the market, but are simply illustrative of common risks such as:
1. “Bud” Skipit’s Wheely Cute Pull Along
2. Foam Dart Gun
3. Stats 38 Quick Folding Trampoline
5. Splat X Smack Shot
6. Kick Flipper
7. Leonardo’s Electronic Stealth Sword
8. Kid Connection Doctor Play Set
9. Pull Along Zebra
10. Jurassic World Velociraptor Claws
- Cords and strings
- Sharp edges
- Small parts
- Loud noises
- Heat up while charging
- Propelled objects
- Realistic toy weaponry.
These dangers can result in serious injuries including strangulation, choking, burns, hearing loss, blindness and blunt force trauma. In fact, research shows that one child is treated in a U.S. emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury. In 2013, there were over 250,000 toy-related injuries, and 50 children died in toy-related incidents between 2010 and 2013. While some of these cases stem from accidents, too many are the result of defects in a toy’s design or construction.
You can visit W.A.T.C.H.’s website here to find out additional information. With the holidays upon us, choose toys carefully and inspect those that your child receives as gifts. Keep toys intended for older children away from younger ones, instruct children on proper use, beware of lead in some plastic toys and jewelry, and avoid toys that don’t seem sturdy or well made.
If your consumer right to be safe (and your child’s by extension) while using a product has been denied, or if you have any questions about this topic, you can find out more by discussing it with one of the attorneys at the Pikeville, KY-based Johnson Law Firm. Contact us by calling 606-433-0682 or using our online form.