If you have children, your holiday shopping list is probably filled with toys for your little ones but while toy manufacturers have a legal obligation to produce safe products for consumers, hundreds of thousands of children are injured due to defective toys every year.
Dangerous children’s toys
Many product liability claims against toy manufacturers involve the following types of dangerous children’s toys:
- Bath toys
- Battery-operated toys
- Non-motorized riding toys, including scooters and tricycles
- Stuffed toys
- Toy vehicles
- Toy-building sets
According to a 2017 study published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), each year, more than 250,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for toy-related injuries, while about 13 kids die from injuries resulting from defective toys.
Children’s toys and Texas product liability law
Toys can lead to injuries due to manufacturing defects, defective design, or failure to warn of risks. When a child is injured by a defective toy, the parents can file a product liability claim against the manufacturer and other liable parties to seek compensation for the resulting harm.
Chapter 82 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides that product manufacturers and other liable parties are strictly liable for injuries caused by the use of their defective or inherently dangerous products, including children’s toys.
It means that plaintiffs (the parties filing the lawsuit) do not need to prove that the defendant was negligent to recover damages for their child’s injury. In other words, if any defect is discovered in children’s toys, the manufacturer, designer, and other parties will be held strictly liable for the resulting injuries, damages, and losses.
Specifically, product liability law in Texas recognizes three types of product defects:
These defects occur as a result of a mistake in the manufacturing process; for example, the wrong type of screw was used or the toy parts were attached incorrectly. A plaintiff is required to present evidence of the product defect.
If a child’s toy had an unsafe design, a plaintiff and their personal injury attorney has to demonstrate evidence that:
- the manufacturer could have used a less dangerous design,
- using the alternative design would have been reasonable from a technological and financial perspective, and
- the alternative design would have reduced the risk of injury while keeping most of the toy’s use and utility.
When a toy maker fails to provide proper warnings and instructions about the product’s use, it can be held liable for the resulting damages and losses. The manufacturer is required to provide clear warning labels and instructions to reduce the child’s injury risk.
Recent 2019-2020 toy recalls in the U.S.
Every year, thousands of toys are recalled because of the inherent dangers they pose to children. Some of the recalls are voluntary after toy manufacturers discover a defect and remove the defective toys from the market before anyone is harmed. Other times, toys are recalled by the manufacturer or the government after a child has been injured or killed.
According to CPSC, the list of recent toy recalls from January 2019 to December 2020 includes:
- Manhattan ball activity toys by Manhattan Toys recalled due to choking hazard.
- Ubbi connecting bath tolls by Pearhead recalled due to choking hazard.
- Handmade knit dolls by The Beaufort Bonnet recalled due to injury hazard after discovering a sewing needle in the stuffing.
- Super Soaker water blasters (XP 20 and XP 30) by Hasbro recalled due to violation of the federal lead content ban.
- Light-up magic wands by Toysmith recalled due to ingestion and choking hazards.
- The Forky 11’’ Plush by Disney recalled due to choking hazard.
Common injuries from unsafe & defective toys
Some of the most common injuries caused by defective and unsafe toys include:
- Suffocation or strangulation
- Burn injuries
- Scrapes and cuts
- Bruises or abrasions
- Puncture wounds
- Fractured bones
Sometimes, children get injured when playing with toys because parents fail to properly supervise their kids or forget to read warnings or safety instructions. Other times, however, children get hurt because the manufacturer fails to adequately design or assemble toys or provide clear instructions and warnings.
Who can be held liable for injuries caused by defective toys?
The toy manufacturer is not the only party responsible for children’s injuries caused by unsafe and defective toys. Other liable parties include:
- The designer or engineer of the toy;
- The distributor;
- The retailer;
- The supplier;
- The package designer or manufacturer;
- The engineer; and/or
- The marketer.
If your child is injured, speak with a Corpus Christi injury attorney
If your child was or is injured by a defective toy this holiday season, consult with a Corpus Christi personal injury attorney immediately to identify liable parties in your product liability case. Contact The Burkett Law Firm to hold the liable parties responsible and help you obtain full compensation for your child’s injury. Call us at 361-223-6863 for your free consultation.