As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to be mindful of the toys we buy for children, especially when considering safety. Recent research has highlighted a startling trend: children are increasingly at risk of injury from toys, particularly from ride-on toys such as foot-powered scooters. This trend calls for a heightened awareness of toy safety, especially in choosing age-appropriate items and ensuring proper supervision.
A comprehensive study conducted by the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital reveals a worrying statistic: in 2011, a child was taken to the emergency room every three minutes due to a toy-related injury. Remarkably, 98% of these children were treated and released, but the remaining 2% required hospital admission. A significant portion of these injuries, 43%, were linked to ride-on toys.
This extensive study analyzed over two decades of data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, documenting over 3.2 million toy-related injuries from 1990 to 2011. A notable surge in injuries was observed between 2000 and 2003, coinciding with the rising popularity of foot-powered scooters.
The study’s authors pointed out that while foot-powered scooters were largely to blame for the increase in injuries, the use of helmets could significantly mitigate the risk of severe injuries. However, after the initial spike in scooter-related injuries, there was a decline, likely due to increased public awareness and safety campaigns. Yet, since 2005, there has been a gradual increase in these injuries.
Over the 21-year period of the study, injuries from ride-on toys surged by 74%, with the majority resulting from falls. The data also showed that these injuries were more common during warmer months and often involved collisions or falls. Interestingly, ride-on toys were three times more likely to cause broken bones or dislocations compared to other toys.
The study highlighted that most injuries were not severe, with a breakdown showing that for every ten injured children, one suffered a bone break or dislocation, two had soft tissue injuries, and four sustained cuts. Despite the non-critical nature of most injuries, emergency room visits are costly and distressing for both children and parents.
Children around the age of 5 were the most frequently injured, with a peak in injury rates at age 2. This is understandable, given the developmental stage of toddlers, who are prone to exploring their environment but still have a tendency to put objects in their mouths. Foreign object ingestion or inhalation was a significant concern for children under 5.
Boys were more likely than girls to sustain injuries (63% of the injuries were to males), and most injuries (80%) occurred at home. Interestingly, there was no significant increase in injuries related to toy weapons or early developmental toys like play tunnels or blocks.
The study’s findings suggest that many emergency department visits could be prevented with safer toy designs. Despite voluntary safety standards by ASTM International and regulations introduced by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, toy safety remains a concern. The effectiveness of product recalls is limited by public awareness and manufacturers’ ability to track their products.
Nationwide’s study offers several recommendations to avoid toy-related injuries:
- Adhere to age restrictions and manufacturer guidelines for all toys.
- Inspect toys for small parts that might pose choking hazards.
- Only use riding toys on dry, flat surfaces away from traffic.
- Supervise children under 8 years old on riding toys.
- Use protective gear like helmets and pads on scooters and wheeled toys.
- Regularly check Recalls.gov for updates on toy recalls.
Pursuing Damages for Toy-Related Injuries
Victims of toy-related injuries, or their guardians, may consider legal action to seek compensation for damages incurred. These cases typically fall under product liability law, where the claim is that the toy was inherently unsafe or defective.
The legal process for such claims involves several steps, starting with filing a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the toy. This process can be intricate and requires precise legal knowledge, making it essential for plaintiffs to seek legal representation. An attorney can provide critical support in gathering evidence, formulating arguments, negotiating settlements, and navigating court proceedings.
In a product liability lawsuit, victims can seek various types of damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and in some cases, punitive damages if gross negligence is proven. The goal is not only to secure financial compensation but also to drive changes in product safety standards and practices.
CONTACT PARKER WAICHMAN LLP FOR A FREE CASE REVIEW
For families dealing with the aftermath of a toy-related injury, legal recourse can be an important step toward recovery and prevention. Parker Waichman LLP, a national product injury law firm, offers expertise in this area. They provide a free consultation service, helping victims understand their legal options and the potential for compensation.
If a toy has injured your child, don’t hesitate to contact Parker Waichman LLP for your free consultation. Our experienced team is committed to advocating for your rights and ensuring that manufacturers are held accountable for unsafe products. Contact us at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529) for your free, confidential consultation and take the first step towards justice and safety.
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