There is nothing more horrible for parent than when an accident injures their child. Accidents harm hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of children in the United States. Sadly, toys and products designed for children cause many of these terrible accidents and the serious injuries that follow. Defective products or ordinary playthings can even become deadly. Injuries caused by defective playground equipment, nursery items, and unsafe toys may be compensable under Alabama law, and our Mobile and Montgomery child injury attorneys are here to help.
Attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can help if your child suffers from injuries caused by a children’s product. Our compassionate attorneys understand how devastating it can be for a family trying to cope with child injuries; especially injuries that may have been avoidable had the manufacturer made or labeled the product properly. Injuries can include suffocation, strangulation, choking, and lead poisoning.
Defective Toys – Built or Designed Poorly – May Cause Injuries
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has the purpose of protecting the public from unreasonable risk of death or injury associated with consumer products. In 2013, there were an estimated 256,700 children under 15 with toy-related injuries, treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. The head and face were the most frequently injured. Lacerations, contusions, abrasions or fractures made up approximately 43 percent of the injuries. Problems including internal injury, ingestion, dislocation, concussion, and puncture injuries, among others, made up 33 percent.
Remember, toys may include nearly anything designed for your child to play with: sports equipment, playground equipment, motorized scooters, bikes, electronics, puzzles, and games. Any injury to a child is traumatic. Injury, burns, and cuts to the face and head caused by toys can lead to scarring and disfigurement. Visible scars add to the emotional trauma of your child’s physical injury. You may be entitled to compensation from the manufacturer of the product that causes your child’s pain and suffering. Farris, Riley & Pitt is an experienced child injury law firm and can help seek damages for your child’s emotional and physical injuries.
Nursery Products Cause Injuries to Children in Alabama
The CPSC also reported that in 2012 alone, there were almost 80,000 nursery product related injuries to children under 5 treated in emergency rooms. Nursery products that can cause injury include:
- Infant carriers
- car seat carriers
- high chairs
- changing tables
- bath seats
Whether your children are in Mobile, Montgomery, Birmingham or any other area of Alabama, they are at risk. Cribs, high chairs, mattresses, car seat carriers, strollers, and carriages contributed to about 67 percent of the injuries. Falls were the most common cause of injury. Heads, and faces were most frequently injured. Internal organ injuries, bruises, scrapes and cuts accounted for nearly 74 percent of the injuries. During 2008–2010, CPSC has reports an annual average of 111 deaths among children under 5 associated with but not necessarily caused by, nursery products. Eighty-nine percent of the fatalities reported involved mattresses, bassinets, cribs, cradles, playpens, infant carriers, car seat carriers, baby baths and bath seats. Causes of death included positional asphyxia, strangulation, and drowning. It is hard to imagine anything worse for a parent than your child being injured or killed by the most common products designed for their benefit and safety. Unfortunately, you cannot take anything for granted when it comes to protecting your children.
Manufacturer Liability for Injuries to Children in Alabama
When a “general use” product is made, the manufacturer has several standards to meet. The standards become more strict when the item designed is a “children’s product”. The law defines a “children’s product” as a consumer product designed or intended primarily for children 12 years of age or younger. There is always, however, an obligation to make items safe for intended use. There is also an obligation to provide warnings and labels about the risks associated with its use. If something does not work as intended or has a poor design, injuries may occur. If risks of danger exist and the manufacturer did not notify the buyer, they may be held responsible for injuries incurred. Products and toys are sometimes targets of a recall because of their defects or dangers, but it is often too late for many parents and their children. When a manufacturer fails to fulfill its safety and warning obligations, they may be responsible for injuries their products cause. The laws that govern the process of proving liability are complex. Alabama attorneys like those at Farris, Riley & Pitt understand how to determine if you have a claim for a defective toy and can help obtain any damages you may be entitled to.
Keeping Your Children Safe From Injury
The Alabama Department of Public Health provides some specific and helpful rules to consider when choosing toys for your child. Adhering to these recommendations may help reduce the risk of injury to your child. They are as follows:
- Magnets. For children under age six, avoid anything with small magnets. If swallowed, serious injuries or death can occur.
- Small Parts. For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Ride-on Toys. Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be sized to fit.
- Projectile Toys. Projectile toys such as air rockets, darts and slingshots are for older children. Improper use of these toys can result in serious eye injuries.
- Chargers and Adapters. Adults should always supervise battery charging. Chargers and adapters can present burn hazard to children.
Best Practices to Avoid Injuries to Children
Kidshealth.org suggests that despite the manufacturer’s obligations to follow strict safety standards, the best protection for a child is proper adult supervision. The CPSC makes several recommendations for parents to follow when supervising play or determining what toys to bring into their children’s lives. Consider the following information before deciding what to purchase for your child and remember to watch them carefully:
- All fabric materials should have labels that state they are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Stuffed toys should be washable.
- Painted toys should be lead-free.
- Art materials should say they are non toxic.
- Crayons and paints should say ASTM D-4236 on the package, which means that the American Society for Testing and Materials has evaluated their safety.
- Stay away from old toys, including hand-me-downs. Older toys may not meet current safety standards, may break easily and become dangerous.
- Carnival stuffed animals, and prizes do not have to meet safety standards, which makes them particularly dangerous.
- Seriously consider age appropriate recommendations that accompany products
Keep your child away from the following dangerous non-toy items: fireworks, matches, sharp scissors, balloons (uninflated or broken balloons can be choking hazards).
- Teach kids to put their toys away.
- Check toys regularly to make sure that they are not broken or unusable: look for splinters, rust or exposed seams or parts.
- Throw away or fix broken toys.
- Store outdoor toys when they’re not being used.
- Always keep toys clean.
Contact Our Montgomery and Mobile Alabama Attorneys if Your Child Has Been Injured
Please keep in mind that even with supervision, a toy or product may severely injure your child. Bruises, scarring, head trauma, choking and even death are known to happen if an item breaks or has a design or manufacturing defect. Nursery products, children’s toys, and play equipment all have the potential to cause harm under the wrong circumstances. If your child is injured and suffers from physical or emotional damage because of a product, contact experienced child injury attorneys. The attorneys at Farris, Riley & Pitt can navigate the complex Alabama laws that govern these cases. We can help you figure out if the manufacturer is responsible for harming your precious child. If you seek compensation for medical bills, or pain and suffering, our attorneys will work hard to get the highest amount you are entitled to.