What Are the Most Dangerous Toys of 2021?
December 7, 2021
Toy safety is a critical concern throughout the year, especially during the holiday season. Gift-givers should use caution when choosing toys for the children on their lists, especially those who are 5 years old and younger.
The statistics around toy safety are sobering. According to World Against Toys Causing Harm (W.A.T.C.H.) one child is treated in a U.S. emergency room for a toy-related injury every three minutes. Last year, nine children died from toy-related injuries, and another 198,000 children were injured. More than one-third of all injured children were 5 years old or younger.
Every year, W.A.T.C.H. identifies potentially hazardous toys. They also caution people to be extra careful this year when some toys may be in short supply. Gift-givers might be tempted to give a dangerous toy if other toys are sold out.
W.A.T.C.H. said safety issues in 2021 include toy weaponry with the potential for blunt force impact injuries, plush toys that could lead to infant suffocation, and toys with small parts, such as button batteries, with the potential for choking or chemical burn injuries.
According to W.A.T.C.H., avoid these unsafe toys:
- Squeakee Minis Poppy the Bunny: Potential for injuries related to battery ingestion.
- Radio Flyer Spin ‘N Saucer: Possible impact injuries.
- Bright Starts Tummy Time Prop & Play: Possibility of suffocation.
- Perfectly Cute My Lil’ Baby Feed & Go Set: Potential for ingestion and choking injuries.
- Nerf Hyper Rush-40 Blaster: Possibility for eye and facial injuries.
- Hape Learn To Play Drum: Potential for ingestion and choking injuries.
- Rollers Light-Up Heel Skates: Potential for blunt impact injuries.
- Snake Eyes G.I. Joe Origins Ninja Strike Sickles: Potential for blunt force and eye injuries.
- Hover-1 My First Hoverboard: Potential for head and impact injuries.
- Walmart My Life As Shopping Basket: Potential for choking injuries.
What Are Common Toy Hazards?
In addition to its annual list of hazardous toys, W.A.T.C.H. provides tips on choosing a toy any time of the year.
Some companies advertise toys online but often fail to include warnings or cautions about the toy parts. They may also provide incomplete or misleading information. Do your research, and study the picture of the toy if there is one. When in doubt, do not buy the toy.
Any toy that includes a battery has the potential for harm, especially for children under 8 years old. Batteries can leak, overheat, and explode. Parents and caregivers should always check battery-operated toys for damage and replace them as needed.
Toys with fur, such as stuffed animals and dolls with hair, are particularly dangerous for babies and toddlers. They can potentially ingest the fur or hair, causing aspiration problems and asphyxiation.
Toys With Attachments
Some toys will have small embellishments or other attachments at the end of a string or lace, such as bells, pom poms, or other features. These attachments are often easily removable, leading to a child potentially ingesting them.
A young child is usually not capable of aiming safely and may not understand the concept of safety when using a projectile toy. Dart guns, pea-shooters, slingshots, and similar toys can cause eye injuries or even blindness if the user is not careful.
Some toys have pointed tips and blunt or sharp edges. A child of any age could be harmed when a pointed tip or edge punctures or scrapes their skin. It is better to look for toys that have softer or rounder parts for young children.
Toys With Strings
Toys that feature strings, ropes, or pulling mechanisms longer than 6 inches could be a strangling hazard. A small child would not know how to free themselves from this type of danger.
Crib and Playpen Toys
Any toy or other object that is strung across a playpen or crib is a potential hazard. Children have become entangled in these objects, resulting in strangulation deaths or injuries.
Toys With Flammable Materials
Some materials will easily ignite when exposed to heat or flames, causing serious burns and other injuries. Always look for a safety label that says Flame Retardant/Flame Resistant.
Although marketed as toys, these devices, such as guns, dart guns, swords, knives, crossbows, and similar weapons, can cause harm. Gift-givers should use care when selecting a toy intended to hurt someone.
Toys that need electricity to function always carry a risk for shock or electrocution. Never permit young children to plug or unplug these toys, and teach older children how to use playthings that require electricity safely.
Toys With Small Parts
Babies and toddlers should not have toys with small parts that can be swallowed or aspirated, causing choking and potentially death. Young children put everything in their mouth at some point, so never gift anything with small parts to them.
Children under 4 years old should not have toys that feature long parts, such as handles. They could put these parts in their mouths and choke.
Toys may have toxic surfaces made from paint or chemicals that could harm a child who puts them in their mouth. Other toys, such as makeup kits, may be made of toxic substances that could cause skin irritation or worse. Check the ingredients, and research them if necessary.
Read the toy’s label for the recommended age level. Some toys require skills that a young child may not have, opening up the potential for harm to the child or others.
What Protections Exist Against Hazardous Toys?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires all manufacturers to follow several health and safety standards. These standards protect infants and children from hazards associated with defective and unsafe toys and products. The standards are in place to ensure that children’s products are not unreasonably dangerous or contain defects that result in illness, injury, and death.
Under CPSC guidelines, all toys intended for use by children 12 years old and under must be third-party tested and certified as compliant to the federal toy safety standard enacted by Congress and other applicable requirements.
The toy safety standard comprehensively addresses numerous toy hazards. It was enacted in 2008 when the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) mandated that the voluntary toy safety standard in effect at that time become mandatory nationwide.
What if a Toy Harms My Child?
If your child is harmed by a toy, the first step to take is to contact a lawyer. Manufacturers cannot get away with producing unsafe toys, whether purposely or unwittingly. They need to know when a product is dangerous to recall it, redesign it, or stop manufacturing the product.
A lawyer can determine how and why the product was harmful, including one of these situations that support a products liability legal claim:
- Design defect: This is an inherently dangerous defect in a product from the beginning before manufacturing.
- Manufacturing defect: Defects that occur in the course of the manufacture or assembly of a product.
- Marketing defect: Improper labeling, insufficient instructions, and inadequate safety warnings are examples of marketing defects.
Our legal team at Galfand Berger LLP can use experts to determine the root cause of the product defect. We can build a case for you that proves liability. There may be parties other than the manufacturer that are negligible as well. Any party in the supply chain could potentially play a role in the toy harm or death, including:
- Product manufacturer.
- Parts manufacturer.
- Party that assembles or installs the product.
- Retail store that sold the product.
Philadelphia Products Liability Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Advocate for Children Injured by Product Defects
When a product is defective and harms someone, especially a child, the right party needs to be held responsible. You can trust our Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP to determine all the negligent parties. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our offices in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.