Toys Recalled Due to Potential Choking Hazards

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Cleveland-based Dunecraft Inc. is issuing a defective product recall for a series of marble-sized toys including Water Balz, Skulls, Orbs and Flower toys, that expand when place in water. The recall involves about 95,100 Dunecraft products sold in U.S. and Canada at retailers such as Bed, Bath & Beyond. According to a Consumer Reports article, the toys can be swallowed and cause a life-threatening condition. Officials also say that the ingested toys are not visible on hospital x-rays and must be surgically removed from the boy. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a statement that an 8-month-old Texas girl ingested a Water Balz toy and needed surgery to get it removed in August 2011.

Injuries and Fatalities Relating to Toys

According to a CPSC report, in 2010, the agency received reports of 17 deaths and 251,000 injuries that were linked to toys. The report states that balloons and small balls were associated with 47 percent of the reported deaths in 2010. A majority of the deaths (11) were from choking while drowning caused four deaths.

Taking the Necessary Precautions

These are defective toys that should not be in the market in the first place. However, during this holiday season, store shelves are flooded with dangerous and defective children’s products that can put our little ones in harm’s way. The best way to protect our children is to be aware of the hazardous products out there so we do not bring them into our homes in the first place. Safety experts warn that when it comes to choosing toys, safety comes first. They say if it fits through a toilet paper tube, it’s a choking hazard and a young child should not have access to it.

Product Liability Issues

If a dangerous or defective toy has injured you or a loved one, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages by filing a product liability claim against the toy manufacturer. In such cases, victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, hospitalization, treatment costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the case of a fatal injury, family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking damages. Victims or their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who will be able to advise them about their legal rights and options.

Toys R Us Recalls Activity Centers for Choking Hazards

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Toys R Us Inc. has issued a defective product recall for about 24,000 Imaginarium 5-Sided Activity Centers because of potential choking hazards. According to a news report in ConsumerAffairs.com, the small wooden knobs attaching the xylophone keys to the end can detach causing a choking hazard to young children. So far, Toys R Us has received eight reports of the knobs detaching. No injuries have been reported to the company.

The recalled products, which were manufactured in China, were sold nationwide and online at www.toysrus.com from August 2009 through September 2010 for about $25. Anyone who has these products at home is urged to stop using them right away and return them to a Toys R Us store for a refund or store credit. For more information, please contact the company at 1-800-869-7787.

Toy-Related Injuries and Fatalities

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), there were 17 reports of toy-related deaths that occurred in 2010 among children under 15 years of age. Balloons and small balls were associated with 47 percent of the reported deaths in 2010. Choking was the cause of the majority of deaths and four children died as a result of drowning. In 2010, 11 of the 17 deaths (65 percent) involved choking on small toys or toy parts. Also, during the same year, there were about 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments. The 2010 estimate was slightly higher than the 250,100 injuries in 2009.

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CDC Lowers Limit for Child Lead Poisoning

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has reduced the limit for child lead poisoning from 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood to five. According to Consumer Reports, there is no amount of lead level that is safe in children. This move encourages everyone from product manufacturers to consumers and parents to work on eliminating all lead from the environment.

CDC statistics show that about 250,000 children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 5 have blood lead levels greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood. About 450,000 children in that age group have lead levels greater than 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. Under the earlier rule 10 micrograms was the level at which the CDC recommended that public health actions be initiated. Now that level has been brought down to 5 micrograms. This change also alters the definition of what is considered lead poisoning in children.

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Toxic and Defective Toys Flood Stores This Holiday Season

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Even as shoppers await Black Friday, the traditional kick-off of the holiday shopping season, consumer advocates at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have released a list of more than a dozen toys on store shelves that are basically dangerous and defective products, which violate federal safety standards for lead and other hazardous chemicals. According to an Associated Press news report, the group’s report states that many toys that are being sold this Christmas may also pose serious choking hazards.

The dangerous and defective toys named in this report include a whirly wheel, a plastic book for babies, a wooden blocks set and even a Sesame Street brand Oscar doll. PIRG warns consumers about toys that are too loud and could lead to hearing damage as well as balloons, which cause more choking deaths than any other children’s product. According to the report, about 40 percent of the choking fatalities reported to the government between 1990 and 2010 involved balloons.
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Company Fined for Failing to Report Defective Toys

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Henry Gordy International has agreed to pay a $1.1 million civil penalty in connection with failing to report dangerous and defective products, specifically, toy dart gun sets that posed a choking hazard to children. According to Consumer Reports, if a child places the soft, pliable, plastic toy dart into his or her mouth, the toy can be inhaled into the throat and prevent the child from breathing. The Auto Fire Target sets were recalled in May 2010 from all Family Dollar Stores.
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Fatal Riverside Car Accident Involves Tire Tread Separation

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Maria Gonzalez, 82, was killed in a Riverside car accident, when the 2000 Ford SUV, in which she was a passenger, went out of control as the right rear tire lost its tread. According to a City News Service report, the fatal car accident occurred on the 60 Freeway, near Campbell Street, in Glen Avon, the afternoon of August 7, 2011. The driver was unable to control the Ford vehicle when the right rear tire separated, and the SUV crashed into a concrete wall twice. Gonzalez was fatally injured. Two other passengers, an 81-year-old woman and a 63-year-old woman, were injured in the crash as well. The driver was not hurt.
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Lead-Tainted Toys Still on Store Shelves

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A California-based children’s advocacy group is releasing new defective product information — specifically about toys with high levels of lead in them. According to an Associated Press news report, the Center for Environmental Health tested about 250 children’s products bought at major retailers and found that lead limits exceeded federal limits in seven of them. The toys with high lead levels include those carrying the popular Barbie and Disney logos such as a Barbie Bike Flair Accessory Kit, a Disney Tinkerbell Water Lily necklace, a Dora the Explorer Activity Tote, children’s shoes, belts and ponchos.
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Halloween Product Recall Involves Defective Flashlights

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The major national retailer, Target, is issuing a defective product recall for about 600,000 Halloween flashlights because they can apparently overheat and melt causing burn injuries. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, Target has so far received eight reports of flashlights overheating and melting, including one report of burn injuries to the hand. This product recall involves two varieties of Halloween-themed flashlights — the mini flashlights and the kind of flashlights sold with stencils.
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Target Slapped with $600,000 Civil Penalty for Selling Lead-Laced Toys

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Target Corporation must pay a $600,000 civil penalty for selling defective products — specifically toys containing high levels of lead paint — according to a news report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The toys were apparently sold between May 2006 and August 2007 at a time when millions of lead-laced toys made in China were being pulled off store shelves for unacceptable levels of lead that can be ingested by young children. Target has reached the monetary settlement with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, but has denied the allegation that it knowingly sold these dangerous and defective toys.
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Defective Products Recall: Toy Companies Pay $2.3 Million Fine for Lead Paint in Toys

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Mattel Inc. and Fisher-Price Inc. have agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty for violating the federal lead paint ban in connection with the defective products recall in 2007 involving nearly 1 million toys that had unacceptably high levels of lead. According to a news report in Consumeraffairs.com, the recalled toy products were mostly made in China and had the potential to cause significant and permanent brain damage in young children. The product recall also involved extremely popular brands of toys such as Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Go Diego and Pixar’s Cars.

The penalty settlement has been provisionally accepted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and resolves allegations that the companies knowingly imported and sold children’s toys with paints or other surface coatings that contained lead levels that violated a 30-year-old federal law. In 1978, CPSC banned toys and other children’s items having more than 0.06 percent lead, by weight, in paints or surface coatings. In 2007, about 95 Mattel and Fisher Price toy models were determined to have exceeded this limit. Lead is obviously toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health consequences including brain damage.

There is no question that Mattel and Fisher Price should be held responsible for knowingly violating a law, especially one that involves the health and safety of our children. I’m pleased that they are being made to pay and are being held accountable for their negligence and wrongdoing.
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