Dangerous Toys: Consumer Product Injury Laws
With the holiday season upon us, kids will likely receive toys as gifts in the coming weeks. While the end of the year is a time for celebration, you must be cautious with all toys given to your children. Federal and California laws allow you to hold the manufacturer responsible through product liability claims if you or a loved one become injured by a defective toy.
Think it’s nearly impossible you could be in that situation? Perhaps these statistics will make you reconsider.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
“An estimated 198,000 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2020… Of the estimated 198,000 toy-related injuries, 75 percent were sustained by children 14 years of age or younger; 73 percent were sustained by children 12 years of age or younger; and 40 percent were sustained by children 4 years of age or younger.”
“All toys intended for use by children 12 years of age and under must be third-party tested and be certified in a Children’s Product Certificate as compliant to the federal toy safety standard enacted by Congress, and to other applicable requirements as well.”
So, what happens when a product fails to meet this standard and causes harm to a child or adult? Luckily, federal laws such as H.R. 5360 (better known as the Toy Safety Act) protect consumers from dangerous toys and the companies that manufacture them.
The Toy Safety Act states that it:
“Amends the Federal Hazardous Substances Act to permit the Consumer Product Safety Commission to order a manufacturer of a toy or other article intended for use by children that has been determined to create a substantial risk of injury to children, to:
(1) give public notice of such danger;
(2) mail such notice to each manufacturer, distributor, or dealer; and
(3) mail such notice to every person to whom the person giving the notice knows such toy or other article intended for used [sic] by children was delivered or sold.”
In California, there are strict liability laws in place to hold companies liable for injuries caused by a defective product. California Civil Jury Instructions confirm this strict liability application. Per the instructions, a claimant does not have to prove the manufacturer’s negligence, the claimant only needs to prove the product’s defect caused the injury.
If your child suffers an injury from a dangerous toy, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal rights and options. Under California Civ. Code 335.1, product liability cases must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. However, in a case involving a minor, the statute of limitation is tolled until the minor reaches the age of 18.
No one wants a child’s gift to become an injury-inducing present. But if it does, we can help hold toy manufacturers accountable, and find ways to prevent similar injuries from occurring in the future.
Andrew L. Shapiro is an experienced injury attorney representing those severely injured by consumer products.