When we purchase a toy for our child, we check the box carefully. There is a recommended age listed on the box that tells us if it is safe for a child or for his or her skill set. A manufacturer of toys knows that a toddler puts everything in their mouth. So, when they recommend a toy for a child of two, you assume there are no small parts that the child can put in his or her mouth that will choke them.
Everything about the toy must be tested to ensure it meets regulations. This is not just a courtesy. It is the law. The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission has very detailed requirements for a manufacturer of children’s toys. These standards go much deeper than the average consumer even thinks about. For example, if the toy makes noise, it must be within a range that is not harmful to the child. Every detail is addressed in the law.
Some Of The Common Ways A Child’s Toy Can Be Defective
- The toy can have sharp edges.
- The toy may contain toxic stuffing, materials, lead-based paint, and other substances.
- The toy may be small enough to be swallowed or to choke the child.
- There could be mechanical dangers.
- If the toy is electric, it could cause shocks or burns if defective.
- The toy may have ribbons, strings, or cords that can choke the child if it is wrapped around their neck.
- The toy may have material (such as doll clothes, blankets, and capes) that are not made of fire retardant cloth.
- The toy may overheat (especially if it runs off strong-powered batteries) which can burn the child.
The design of the toy is sometimes questionable. For example, foot-powered scooters are responsible for injury to children when they try to stop the scooter when it is going too fast.
Some injuries happen with the assembly of the toy. Sharp edges can stab the child when he or she is applying pressure to pop a toy part into place.
In addition, bicycles must have proper safety features.
Who Is Liable?
There are many people along the line that can be responsible or share in the responsibility for a defective toy injury. Usually, the manufacturer and/or the designer of the toy is to blame. However, distributors of the toy may be held responsible if they knew of the problem and sold the toy anyway.
What Can An Attorney Do?
In the state of Louisiana, this type of legal action falls under product liability laws. This means you must file your lawsuit within one year of finding it defective.
The degree of injury and recovery is based on a case by case basis. In most cases, you can recover:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Pain and suffering
If the judge finds that the manufacturer was so negligent, and so outrageous that they deserve further punishment, they may award punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded just for punishment.
The clock is not on your side. If your child has been injured by a defective toy, seek medical attention, then contact a product liability attorney.