Watch out for toys that can cause injury this holiday season

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Toys that encourage aggressive or violent play could result in potential impact or laceration injuries
Toys that encourage aggressive or violent play could result in potential impact or laceration injuries

Those looking to buy children's presents this festive season need to be careful of purchasing potentially harmful toys.

This is according to Kirstie Haslam, partner at DSC Attorneys, who says that many dangerous children's toys are available in-store and online.

In its newly released report, World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) says many toys contain hidden hazards unnecessarily putting children at risk of injury or death and lists the '10 Worst Toys of 2020'; worryingly, Haslam says that many of these are readily available for purchase in South Africa.

Also read: These are the toys most often abandoned right after Christmas 

Safety hazards  

In its 2020 report, WATCH also identified some of the safety hazards recently identified on toy store shelves and online, including toys with small parts, or fibre-like hairs with the potential for choking or ingestion injuries, a particular concern for young children.

WATCH also highlighted toys that encourage aggressive or violent play could result in potential impact or laceration injuries and toys sold with unrealistic warnings and instructions.

Unfortunately, there have been many deaths and injuries inflicted upon children as a result of poorly designed and tested toys.

WATCH states that there is an average estimated 240,000 toy-related injuries to children each year in the US alone.

Read: Can toys just be, well, toys? 

Classic toy dangers 

Shockingly, classic toy dangers, such as small parts, strings, projectiles, toxic substances, rigid materials and inaccurate warnings and labels, continue to reappear in new generations of toys putting children at risk the report states.

Haslam agrees and says that unfortunately there have been many deaths, disfigurements and disabilities inflicted upon children as a result of poorly designed and tested toys. "This is alarming considering that many of toy-related injuries are preventable," she adds.

"Due to lack of safety legislation in South Africa, thousands of these hazardous toys end up on the shelves and in the hands of children."

With many shopping online this Covid-19 festive season, Haslam advises parents to check for warnings and cautions on toys before giving them to a child.

She continues: "Warnings on toys for sale in South Africa should certainly at a minimum comply with the SABS, South African National Standard."

Also read: Top toys for tots, that don't have to cost a cent

The Consumer Protection Act 

"Beyond any regulatory/ statutory requirements, however, there is a duty on a toy manufacturer to take reasonable measures to ensure not only that a toy is safely constructed/manufactured, but further to ensure that adequate warnings are given regarding the safe use of a toy."

Manufacturers cannot absolve themselves of responsibility by simply adding a label to a toy.

"Manufacturers, retailers, distributors and suppliers can be held liable for damages caused by defective or hazardous products whether the goods are locally produced or imported," Haslam adds.

"A consequence of the Consumer Protection Act of 2008 is that the onus is no longer on the consumer to prove fault or negligence in a product liability claim," she explains.

"The entire supply chain is now required to ensure that all products are safe for their intended uses."

Claim damages

She continues: "If you or a dependent are injured due to defective or dangerous merchandise that doesn't carry the required warnings, you may be able to claim damages such as medical expenses, hospital costs, past and future loss of earnings, and general damages for pain and suffering."

However, Haslam adds that these types of personal injury cases are complicated, so it is wise to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney.

Submitted to Parent24 by DSC Attorneys

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