Don’t Put Danger Under the Tree: Toys to Avoid This Christmas

December 15, 2017

If you are shopping for a Christmas gift for a child this holiday season, remember that safety should be a top priority. While toys may appear to be safe, some are not properly labeled or tested and may pose serious health risks.

Fortunately, watchdog groups like the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have taken the time to research the most popular toys this year. They recently released their “Trouble in Toyland” report, warning consumers about potentially dangerous toys and other gifts for kids.

Over the past three decades, U.S. PIRG reports have led to more than 150 recalls of potentially dangerous toys, and its public awareness campaigns have helped lawmakers and consumers alike realize the dangers of these defective products. For 2017, the group’s attention focused on the newest and biggest threats that these products pose to children today, including:

  • Data-Collecting Toys – Toys that pose a serious risk to children according to data privacy laws
  • Choking Hazards
  • Lead Poisoning Threats

Because consumer watchdog groups continue to find issues with products marketed for and to children, the public and government agencies need to remain vigilant when it comes to ensuring that children are not harmed by unsafe or defective toys.

Some of the dangerous toys identified by the U.S. PIRG report include:

  • My Friend Cayla Doll – Several consumer groups have lodged complaints with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over concerns that this Internet-connected “smart toy” may violate children’s data privacy laws.
  • Fidget Spinners – Two models of popular fidget spinners were shown to contain excessive amounts of lead. Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does not consider fidget spinners to be “children’s products,” they are not regulated under federal lead standards for children’s products.
  • Balloons and Games – Two very different products both pose serious choking hazards to children.

One of the primary concerns of the watchdog groups is misleading or inaccurate warning labels. Parents, relatives, or friends may not be aware of the dangers of these products when purchasing them for the children on their Christmas list, and serious injuries or death may occur.

Because of the very real dangers, it is our responsibility as consumers to protect ourselves and the children in our lives from the threats posed by hazardous products. While it may be impossible to identify every dangerous toy on your list, here are a few helpful guidelines when shopping for a child this Christmas:

  • Do Your Research – Make sure to research each toy on your list this year. Many different groups and publications like the S. PIRG, Good Housekeeping, Time Magazine, and others release lists of the most unsafe children’s products each year.
  • Read the Labels – While some labels may be misleading, the majority of manufacturers try to list the potential hazards right on the box. Most toys will have a clear age-range indication displayed on the packaging.
  • Use Common Sense – When buying a toy for a child, it is important to assess the product’s safety yourself before purchasing it. If it seems poorly manufactured or has small pieces, you may consider selecting a different gift. A good rule of thumb when it comes to assessing choking hazards, specifically, is if a toy can fit inside of a toilet paper roll, it is too small and can easily become lodged in a child’s throat.

Despite your best efforts to be an informed consumer and purchase safe presents for children, it is still possible that a defective toy or other children’s product could result in serious harm to a loved one.

As consumers, we have a right to expect that the products we purchase are safe for use, especially when it comes to children. If a product is hazardous or if it is not accurately labeled and is sold to unsuspecting consumers, the injured parties and their loved ones may be eligible to take legal action as a result. If a child is harmed by a defective product, the manufacturer and every party in the distribution chain could be held liable for the injuries.

Get Legal Help for Injuries Caused by Dangerous Toys

At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, our experienced product liability attorneys have helped many injured victims of defective products recover the full and fair compensation that they may deserve. If your child has been injured by a defective or dangerous toy or other children’s product, please do not hesitate to contact our team today to schedule your free case evaluation. Our firm represents victims throughout the region, including in Asheville, Franklin, Waynesville, North Carolina and Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Since 1979, Grimes Teich Anderson LLP has represented the injured and disabled.  The attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson are leaders in Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina in representing clients in personal injury matters, workers compensation claims, Social Security disability claims, and employment law matters and veterans’ law.  Grimes Teich Anderson has an active litigation practice with multiple trial tested attorneys, including Henry Teich, a North Carolina Board Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist.   For more information, visit