Florida Injury Lawyers Helping Families Affected by Dangerous Toys
As a parent, you do what you can to keep your children safe. You read warning labels, you observe age restrictions and you make sure your kids always know you are there to help. Unfortunately, sometimes even parents’ best efforts are not enough. Sometimes toys and other products do not work how we expect them to, and dangerous defects can lead to life-changing and fatal injuries.
If you have had a child harmed by a dangerous toy, it is important that you speak with a lawyer. Your family may be entitled to a substantial settlement or court verdict, and recovering just compensation could be critical to helping your family cope and move on. Children’s injuries can lead to substantial medical bills (not only now, but also in the future), and pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of earning potential, and a variety of other losses are all eligible for compensation under Florida law.
Experienced Representation for Toy Defect Claims
At Searcy Denney, we are passionate about fighting for families who have fallen victim to dangerous and defective toys. Companies routinely mass-produce dangerous toys, choosing to put their profits ahead of protecting children’s safety. With decades of experience many millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for injury victims and their families, we know what it takes to be successful, and we vigorously pursue every case through the final settlement or verdict at trial.
Dangerous and Defective Children’s Products
From design flaws to issues during the manufacturing process and failure to affix necessary warning labels, there are countless ways that a toy can be deemed legally defective. In one way or another, virtually all toys have the potential to be defective, and defects can lead to a wide range of serious injuries. Our attorneys have the experience and backgrounds necessary to handle cases involving all types of dangerous and defective children’s products, including:
- Children’s furniture
- Infant and toddler toys
- Inflatable toys and rental equipment
- Playground equipment
- Plush toys
- Toys made with toxic and hazardous materials
- Toys with small pieces
- Toys with unsafe packaging
Common Safety Risks With Defective Toys
The list of potential injuries from defective toys is as long as the list of potential defects. Broken bones, brain and spinal cord injuries, organ damage and asphyxiation are just a few of the dangers. Below are some of the more common types of safety risks associated with defective toys:
While toys with small parts are widely recognized as choking hazards, toys made with hazardous substances and those which can break into small pieces present dangerous choking risks as well. There are a variety of factors that put children at risk for serious injury from choking hazards. Young children often use their mouths and hands in conjunction when exploring unfamiliar objects, and all types of items can provide relief from teething pain for infants and toddlers. Young children may also put objects in their mouths thinking they might be food.
As children grow older, they continue to face certain risks. Even at age 10, a child’s esophagus is much smaller than that of an adult. This means that they are more prone to choking on everything from building blocks to candy, and from balls to shards of broken toys. Toys made of hazardous and toxic substances can present choking hazards as well, both directly and by causing swelling of the esophagus – which can lead to asphyxiation.
Common Choking Hazards for Children
Any toy that a child can place in his or her mouth has the potential to be a choking hazard. This includes entire toys (such as small beads and figurines) as well as small parts and fragments. Some of the most common choking hazards for children of all ages include:
- Art supplies
- Building blocks
- Marbles and small balls
- Small toys and toys with small parts
- Toys made of toxic and hazardous materials
- Toys that are prone to splintering or breaking
- Toys that look like food
What to Do if Your Child Has Choked on a Toy
If your child has choked on a toy, it is important that you take appropriate steps to protect your family’s legal rights. Manufacturers and retailers deserve to be held accountable for putting children in danger, and your family deserves to recover full and fair compensation for the effects of your child’s injury. Some of the basic steps parents can take to protect their legal rights after a choking incident include:
- Seeking prompt medical attention for their child, being sure to tell the doctor exactly what happened.
- Keeping the choking hazard in its current condition.
- Ensuring that their child follows all prescribed medical advice and attends any follow-up appointments as scheduled.
- Keeping track of expenses resulting from the choking incident, including medical bills, medication costs and any other out-of-pocked expenses.
- Seeking prompt legal representation from a firm experienced in product liability
The risk of entanglement in strings, ropes, nets on toys and playground equipment is often overlooked by product manufacturers. Despite regulations and generally-accepted standards for the design and construction of safe play objects, entanglement injuries are common, with consequences ranging from minor injuries to permanent disability and disfigurement; and, in the most tragic cases, death.
Children who become entangled in playground equipment and other play objects can suffer both physical injuries and emotional trauma. While younger children are often particularly at risk, children of all ages can suffer life-changing injuries from entanglement.
Compensation for Childhood Injuries Caused by Entanglement
Injuries from entanglement incidents can impact children and families for the rest of their lives. The entire family can suffer emotionally, and the costs of long-term medical treatment for permanent injuries will often far surpass what most families can afford to pay. When we take on a childhood injury case of any kind, we work closely with the family, the child’s medical providers and our trusted experts to ensure that we have all of the information necessary to maximize our client’s financial recovery.
In most cases, the types of compensation available for childhood injuries caused by entanglement include:
- Past and future medical expenses (payable to the parents until age 18)
- Loss of consortium and the child’s services
- Lost earning capacity of the child
- The child’s pain, suffering and mental anguish
- The child’s loss of enjoyment of life
When a significant amount of financial compensation is on the table, toy and play equipment manufacturers will go to great lengths to try to minimize their liability. For example, these companies will often claim that children as young as six years old are to blame for their own injuries. They will also vigorously dispute any allegations that their products are unreasonably dangerous, and they will try to use a variety of litigation strategies to make the process as difficult for the family as possible.
From magnetic blocks and puzzles to playsets with magnetized figurines, magnets are common components of a wide variety of children’s toys. Unfortunately, while magnets can be both fun and educational, they can also present health risks for young children. The biggest risk from magnets comes from the potential for ingestion. When a child swallows a small magnet (or several), this can cause choking and a number of other potentially-dangerous health hazards, and children who have swallowed magnets will often need immediate medical attention in order to reduce the risk of long-term, if not fatal, consequences.
Issues With Magnetic Toys
Products on store shelves and for sale online must be safe for their intended use. This includes all types of children’s toys. If a toy with magnets is designed such that the magnets can be swallowed, or if a product’s packaging fails to warn parents that small magnets are contained within, these both might be considered “product defects” for which families can seek just compensation.
While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) imposes national safety standards for toys sold in the United States, it cannot force manufacturers to comply. It also cannot test every product before it hits store or warehouse shelves. Some toy manufacturers conduct independent safety testing, but many do not. As a result, accidents involving dangerous magnetic toys are far too common, and children and families who suffer due to magnet ingestion must take legal action to hold the toy companies responsible.
Types of Injuries Related to Magnetic Toys
Toys intended for all age groups can present unwarranted health risks for young children and teens. Even magnetic desk toys marketed toward adults have led to lawsuits resulting from swallowing risks for children. Choking and related health risks are particularly high with magnets due to the fact that they can stick together inside a child’s body. Children who swallow magnets may suffer from:
- Bowel perforations
- Internal bleeding
- Intestinal blockage
- Sepsis and other infections
- Other gastrointestinal injuries
In recent years, we have seen several toy recalls over concerns that small magnets could present safety risks for children. Sadly, these recalls often come only after many children have already been harmed. If your child swallowed a toy magnet, regardless of whether the toy is subject to a recall, we encourage you to contact us promptly for a free consultation about your family’s legal rights.
Each year in the United States, an alarming number of toys and other products marketed toward children are recalled due to concerns over possible strangulation. From pull toys to playground equipment, all types of children’s products can present risks for strangulation, either directly (as a result of including a dangerous string or cord) or indirectly (by creating “snagging” hazards that can catch on toys and clothing). Sadly, strangulation is among the leading causes of accidental death among children, and too often these accidents are the result of big companies failing to consider the risks their products entail.
Strangulation Risks With Children’s Products
Many types of products present risks for child strangulation. When a string, rope or cord gets entangled around a child’s neck, the loss of circulation can quickly disrupt oxygen flow to the brain, and the child can asphyxiate if not helped immediately.
Sadly, many strangulation accidents are simply a result of the child’s curiosity. The child may be exploring ways to interact with a new toy, or he or she may be stimulated by a new environment. Designers and manufacturers of toys, playground equipment, children’s clothing and other children’s products must recognize the potential dangers these activities entail, and they must avoid developing products that put children in danger.
Some of the types of children’s products that can present strangulation risks include:
- Clothing items and bags with drawstrings
- Cribs with posts that can catch an infant’s or toddler’s clothes
- Electronic toys with power cords
- Playground equipment with rope swings and nets
- Toys with long strings (such as pull toys or bead-lacing sets)
For children who survive strangulation accidents, the long-term consequences can be severe. In a young child’s developmental stages, the disruption of the brain’s oxygen supply can result in developmental delays and potentially long-term cognitive impairments. The emotional trauma of experiencing strangulation can have lasting effects as well, and parents must ensure that they have the financial resources necessary to meet their children’s medical, developmental and educational needs.
Toys made with toxic chemicals are responsible for countless emergency room visits every year. Despite the well-known dangers of many substances – particularly for young children – product designers and manufacturers continue to put toys on the shelves that have the potential to cause severe injuries and cognitive impairments. Oftentimes, these products are sold without adequate warning labels, so parents have no idea that their children are being exposed to toxic chemicals.
Toys manufactured in the United States and abroad can contain a variety of chemicals that are potentially harmful to children. While federal regulations limit the use of certain toxins (such as lead) in consumer products, these regulations do not cover all toxic manufacturing chemicals, and toys manufactured overseas will often contain dangerously-high levels of harmful substances.
Toxic chemicals that are commonly used to manufacture toys and other children’s products include:
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic
These chemicals appear in everything from pacifiers and teething rings to rattles, blocks, figurines, and electronic toys. Unfortunately, while companies have a legal responsibility to warn of the risks associated with their products, it is not unusual for children to suffer from exposure to toxic chemicals not listed on product packaging.
Health Risks From Toxic Toys
The health risks associated with toxic chemicals commonly found in children’s toys vary. The effects of toxic exposure can also vary by age, with infants and toddlers often being particularly susceptible to the effects of ingesting and inhaling harmful substances. Some of the potential consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals in toys include:
- Brain damage
- Cognitive impairments
- Developmental delays
- Gastrointestinal dysfunction
- Hormonal imbalance
- Reproductive system abnormalities
For families, the financial and emotional toll of these conditions can be devastating. Parents will often incur years of medical bills, and in many cases families will need to make lifelong accommodations for the consequences of toxic chemical exposure. As the child ages, he or she may be unable to go to school or undertake a career as a result of his or her condition. However, these financial costs often pale in comparison to the emotional trauma that child victims will endure. In these types of cases, it is critical for parents to ensure that their children will have the financial resources necessary to live productive and fulfilling lives, and this starts with seeking experienced legal representation.
Speak With Our Florida Injury Team to See If You Are Eligible to File a Defective Toy Claim
If you would like to speak with our Florida injury lawyers about seeking financial compensation for your child’s injuries or death related to a defective, dangerous or toxic toy, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys will be happy to help you understand your situation and provide a thorough assessment of your legal rights. To schedule an appointment at our offices in Tallahassee or West Palm Beach, please call (800) 780-8607 or inquire online today.