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Understanding products liability and dangerous children’s toys

Consumers have a right to expect that toys purchased for their children will not put them at unnecessary risk of harm. Alternatively, manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers of children's toys have a duty to immediately report whenever they learn of potential safety hazards posed by their products. In fact, they are required to do that reporting to the Consumer Products Safety Commission within 24 hours.

In a perfect world, toy manufacturers would run their products through extensive testing procedures designed to eliminate certain hazards such as choking, poisoning or pinching.

In December 2014, a consumer products safety organization released a report that identified some of the most common types of dangers associated with children's toys. According to the U.S. Public Interest Research Group's 29th annual survey of toy safety, parents should not just assume that children's toys are safe simply because they are on a store shelf.

The following just two of the lesser-known examples of potential toy safety hazards:

-- Magnets were shown to be potentially dangerous. Researchers say that strong individual magnets that are swallowed can tear through a child's intestinal lining if they reattach after being ingested.

-- Balloons are exceptionally dangerous for smaller children. In fact, researchers say that balloons are responsible for more choking deaths among children than any other item purchased specifically as a toy or children's product. U.S. PIRG says that balloons should not be marketed to any child under 8 years old.

-- Obviously, choking hazards are always something to consider with children's toys. Researchers say that small balls that are less than 1.75 inches in diameter represent a particularly dangerous choking hazard. This is because small balls are usually brightly colored and are easily confused as food items by children playing with them.

This is not a complete listing of all of the types of dangerous toys that parents might find in their local stores. However, this report does reveal the fact that dangerous toys still manage to find their way into the marketplace.

If you suspect that your child has been injured due to a dangerous toy you may be able to sue those responsible for your child's injury. Your Illinois products liability attorney can examine the specifics of your case and determine whether you have a viable legal claim.

Source: US PIRG-The Federation of Public Interest Research Groups, "The 29th Annual Survey of Toy Safety" accessed Jan. 23, 2015

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