Recently, the toy manufacturing company Fisher-Price announced the safety recall of nearly 11 million of its toy and child products. Children’s trikes, many branded with popular characters like Barbie and Dora the Explorer, made up a large portion of this recall due to injuries caused when children fell on or against the trikes’ protruding toy key. Similarly, over 1 million Fisher-Price high chairs were recalled after pegs on the chair injured a reported 14 children, six of who required stitches. And a number of inflatable balls were recalled which posed a choking hazard.
As one of the largest manufacturers of children’s products, Fisher-Price toys can be found in a large percentage of homes. But sadly, they are far from the only toy manufacturer to recall its products due to safety concerns. So it’s understandable the fear that a parent feels, especially when such a large recall is announced. It reminds them that even the most diligent parent still must rely to some degree on a manufacturer to safely engineer and manufacture these products. But what can a parent do when they realize that the manufacturers they trust make mistakes?
One thing a parent can do is to put themselves in their children’s shoes. The good news is that means you get to play! Get down on your child’s level, on your knees or stomach, and see what he or she sees. Is there something on that new toy or product that you couldn’t see before? Perhaps something sticking out a little too far? Imagine what it would feel like if you bumped into or fell on it. If there is anything on the product your child can put their fingers on, you touch it as well. Does it feel loose? Can it be removed and put into a mouth? Are there any moving or wiggly parts that can pinch a little finger?
Another concern is a product’s country of origin. In 2007, nearly 1 million toys were recalled when it was found that the toys’ paint contained a high concentration of lead, a documented health hazard. Though the use of lead paint on toys has been banned by the United States since 1978, many American companies manufacture its products outside of the United States. The toys in the lead paint recall, for instance, were manufactured by a company in China. Since similar problems with products manufactured overseas continue to pop up, parents might wish to monitor where and with what materials their children’s toys are being made. If you are concerned about a lack of safety regulations in a product’s country of origin, remove the toy from your list.
Mostly, a parent can improve safety by staying informed. Product recalls, especially smaller ones, are not always widely advertised. Be pro-active by regularly checking for recall postings on manufacturers’ websites, as well as at the stores where you shop. If a product you have purchased has been recalled, these places can inform you how to return the product for an exchange or refund. However, if your child has been injured by a defective toy, relying on the manufacturer may not be your best option. While some companies may attempt to do the right thing if your child is injured due to their negligence, others may deny liability or attempt to hide the occurrence. In this case, you should consider consulting a Chicago personal injury attorney who will not only represent your child’s best interest, but will make sure the product’s defect is reported to the proper entities.
About the Author: Brooke Haley marketing associate at Millon & Peskin, Chicago workers compensation lawyer that practice in the areas of Civil Litigation, Workers’ Compensation, and Personal Injury. Millon & Peskin is a General Civil Litigation Practice with the goal of representing the interests of injured workers, throughout all applicable Courts within the State of Illinois. For more information, please visit http://www.millonpeskin.com.