With the market size of the U.S. toy industry surpassed the $26.5 billion range in 2016 and with a 5 percent domestic increase each year in sales, toys are clearly big business for manufacturers, parents, and of course, kids. Since toys are designed for use by young children – curious creatures who will touch, taste and try to climb on almost anything put in front of them – it is reassuring that toys are held to a high safety standard. Nevertheless, no system is perfect and there are still plenty of toys recalled for various safety reason each year.
So far in 2018, a slew of toys have been recalled including art kits by Michael’s; crayons; baby toys, mobiles, bath toys and rattles by Munchkins and Vtech brands; baby teethers and pacifier holders; and popular brands of rideable toy cars and wagons. These products pose potential risk of choking, lacerations, burns, irritations and other scary hazards that no parent wants to think about.
According to the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp which deals with personal injuries including those related to defective products, a child is treated in an emergency room every three minutes for a toy-related injury in the United States. Sadly, more than 251,000 serious toy-related injuries occurred in 2014 alone and 61 children tragically lost their lives due to accidents with toys between 2010 and 2014. Between January 2015 and November 2016 an alarming 19 defective toys (over 800,000 products) that posed safety threats were recalled. Unfortunately, many of these and other dangerous toys continue to lurk in the homes of unsuspecting families across the nation.
The summer months are particularly dangerous for kids as they account for almost half of all injury-related deaths and for 2.5 million injuries requiring treatment in emergency rooms – perhaps because kids spend more time playing.
Luckily for concerned parents there are many websites, organizations and agencies dedicated to publicizing the latest recalls on toys as well as other products. Six federal agencies created a joint website to provide a complete list of all product recalls including consumer products, food items, medicine, cosmetics, cars and more. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a government agency that oversees products consumers use each day, lists over 400 items each year which it has recalled. Parents can also read about which toys experts have dubbed the worst toys in order to prevent kids from coming into contact with potential accident causing products.
Some general safety tips for keeping kids safe in the summer and all year round include always purchasing age appropriate toys, avoiding projectile toys like slingshots that can cause severe eye damage, and avoiding toys with strings longer than 6 inches which could pose a risk for strangulation. It is wise to say no to toys with sharp edges, old toys that may contain materials that are no longer considered safe or that may not comply with current safety standards, and to toys with any small or detachable parts for young children. Makeup kits and cheap jewelry which could have toxic components and cause irritation or worse when applied to the skin or ingested are better avoided as well.
If you are concerned about the safety of a toy or product, the manufacturer and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) should be contacted and notified right away.