The holiday season each year is a special occasion for families around the country. After Thanksgiving festivities in November comes one of the busiest shopping times of the year. Each year families spend hundreds of dollars purchasing new items and toys for Christmas, but it is important to ensure the products are safe.
According to a Time Magazine article, injuries involving toys have increased by 40 percent between 1990 and 2011. The report from Clinical Pediatrics found that about 3,278,073 kids were sent to emergency rooms for toy-related injuries within the past two decades. This averages about 149,000 cases per year.
Some of the toys most likely to lead to injuries, according to the report, are scooters and other wheeled objects. These ride-along toys accounted for 42.5 percent of admissions to hospitals between 1990 and 2011 and 34.9 percent of injuries in children, according to the article.
However, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act, there are safety regulations in place that must be followed for certain toys and children’s materials. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, manufacturers must design and make products to meet those standards to ensure hazardous products are not sold.
Additionally, manufactures have certain expectations under Georgia law. The manufacturer of a product is liable to the purchaser of a product if that consumer is injured by or in connection to a product that is “not merchantable and reasonably suitable to the use intended,” according to Georgia Code § 51-1-11.
If a person is injured as a result of a product, he or she could seek damages under a product liability case. In a product liability case, it does not matter if the company that manufactured the product was negligent or careless. It only matters that it sold the product with a defect.
Products can be defective in a variety of ways, including:
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- Defect due to inadequate warning
A toy could have a design defect if there is some sort of flaw in the inherent design that makes it unsafe for use. This generally means a product with a design flaw will have the same problem consistently on all products created from that design.
A manufacturing defect is different in that it could affect only one product. The design is in fact safe, but there was an issue when creating the product. For example, a design for a scooter could be safe, but faulty materials could have been used when creating it.
Another issue could be inadequate warning, also known as a marketing defect. This applies when a manufacturer does not give proper warning about possible dangers with the product. For instance, if a child’s toy oven is likely to become extremely hot on the outside of the product, the manufacturer should warn consumers.
If a person is injured because of a product, the manufacturer and the company selling the faulty product could be liable for damages. The companies involved could be forced to pay damages for medical bills, lost wages and even property damage, depending on the circumstances.
Although purchasing toys for children can be an overwhelming process during the holiday season, there are ways to help ensure product safety. Children are vulnerable, so it is important to read packaging carefully, examine toys and supervise as they play. For more tips on toy safety, click here.