Remember Dan Akroyd as Irving Mainway hawking "safe toys" such as "Bag O’ Glass," "Doggy Dentist" and "Mr. Skin-Grafter" on Saturday Night Live? The joke was, nobody would sell toys that were as dangerous as those, right? Wrong.
The statistics, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission are downright scary: In 2007, 18 children died in toy related deaths and there were 170,000 Emergency Room visits involving toy related injuries for children under 15. According to the Keenan’s Kids Foundation, 20% of the toys presently on the market will not meet the safety requirements of that commission’s Safety Modernization Act, which takes effect on February 29, 2009.
For a parent who does not want to wade through all the fine print – what to do? On this issue, good old common sense is the order of the day. Go through your child’s Christmas gifts. Are any of the toys from a foreign country? If so, they may contain unsafe levels of lead. Do any of them have sharp edges? Are they small enough to get caught in a toddler’s wind pipe? Do they involve special batteries, magnets, chemicals or moving parts? Make a list, and then head for the internet. Searches for "2008 toy recall," "dangerous toys," or the like will give you plenty of information. Alternatively, you can do a search of the particular toy in question. Even if you don’t turn anything up, if you that that the toy is unsafe, it probably is.
Cum Laude graduate of Cumberland School of Law, Pet Mackey is a civil trial litigation expert who represents plaintiffs in business and consumer tort, contracts and construction, employment disputes and insurance. He is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Certified Alabama Mediator, and an “AV” rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.