A child playing with small toy blocks.

Product Liability: Dangerous Toys

Thousands of children are injured every year by toys with small parts, dangerous materials, or faulty designs. Toy-related injuries can bring significant medical bills, fear, and trauma to victims’ families. When injuries result from a toy manufacturer’s negligence, the manufacturer may be held liable for the family’s harm in a product liability lawsuit.

Injuries from Dangerous Toys

In 2018 alone, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported over 225,000 toy-related injuries in the United States. Over a third of these cases involved children younger than five. In the same year, the CPSC reported 17 toy-related deaths in children under age 15.

According to the CPSC, common toy-related injuries included abrasions, cuts, and fractures. For children under age 5, ingestions and internal injuries were common as well. Some of these injuries can occur when children misuse toys. Other injuries, however, result from toys with dangerous flaws or inadequate parent safety warnings.

Recalls and Dangerous Toy Lists

In response to the high rates of toy-related injuries, some organizations are taking action to warn the public of dangerous toys. One organization, known as WATCH (“World Against Toys Causing Harm”) publishes an annual list of the “10 Worst Toys” for child safety. 2019’s list included stuffed animals with removable fur, a powerful dart gun, and slime sets that contained toxic chemicals. Most of the toys on the WATCH toy list look harmless; many parents would not suspect the dangers they could pose to young children.

In addition to dangerous toy lists, recalls are another way to alert the public to dangerous toys. Recalls occur when a manufacturer or government agency discovers that a toy is too dangerous to be sold to consumers. A list of current toy recalls for 2020 is available here. Unfortunately, recalls usually occur only after children have suffered injury from dangerous toys.

When a child suffers toy-related injuries, the child’s family may seek reparations from the toy’s manufacturer. To hold the manufacturer responsible for such injuries, plaintiffs may bring a product liability claim.

Product Liability Claims for Toys

Like other product liability claims, there are three main types of actions for toy-related injuries:

  • Manufacturing Flaws
    • Manufacturing flaws occur unintentionally during the production process. To catch such flaws, toy manufacturers should use quality control procedures to ensure each toy is produced safely. If a toy is accidentally produced with loose parts, faulty batteries, or other dangerous flaws, families who are harmed by flawed toys may bring an action under a manufacturing flaw theory.
  • Design Flaws
    • Design flaws occur when a manufacturer designs a product in a way that later turns out to be unsafe. Unlike manufacturing flaws, which occur unintentionally during the production process, design flaws are inherent in the toy itself.
    • Toy manufacturers are responsible for testing new toys to ensure that their designs are safe before they’re released to consumers. If a manufacturer does not adequately test a new toy design, it may be liable for resulting injuries.
  • Failure to Warn
    • “Failure to warn” lawsuits argue that a toy manufacturer did not provide adequate warning of a toy’s hazards. A toy’s packaging should clearly note elements like small parts and potentially toxic materials. If a toy manufacturer fails to warn parents of a toy’s dangers, and injury occurs, the toy manufacturer may be liable.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a dangerous toy, contact the product liability toy injury lawyers at David Randolph Smith for a free consultation. Our Tennessee product liability attorneys are ready to guide you on the next steps for your dangerous toy injury case.