Dangerous toys: How safe will your child be this summer?

While their children's safety is a primary concern for most Missouri parents, they may unwittingly put the children in harm's way when they buy certain toys advertised as essentials for summer fun. A group of consumer watchdogs says almost half of the child fatalities from injuries each year nationwide occur during the months of summer.

This consumer group — World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) — recently released a report that lists the 10 most dangerous toys that are available for children this summer. While you, as a parent, is responsible for the safety of your children, you could seek recovery of damages through the civil justice system if dangerous toys harm your children.

The top 10 list of dangerous toys

The golden rule to keep your children safe is likely the one that says never leave small children unsupervised — whether they play indoors or outdoors. However, being reminded of the following risks might help you to keep your little ones safe throughout this summer:

  • Choking hazards: Small, detaching parts of toys can cause children to choke, and although this danger is not limited to the summer months, it is worth underscoring the risks.
  • Drowning hazards: Supervision of young children is essential wherever swimming pools or spas are present. You must cover or remove above-ground or in-ground pools when not in use.
  • Shallow water hazards: A child can drown in as little as two inches of water, making baby pools, buckets, fountains, pool covers and anything in which water can accumulate a drowning hazard.
  • Water and projectile guns: Any toys that shoot water, foam darts, arrows or other projectile ammunition can cause severe eye damage. According to the packaging on one toy, it blasts darts as far as 90 feet.
  • Lawn darts: Although the U.S. government banned these toys in 1988 due to the hazards posed by their pointed ends, modern lawn darts have round, weighted bottoms. However, severe blunt force trauma can follow if such a dart strikes a child's head.
  • Low-profile riding toys: Children riding tricycles, Big Wheels and other low-riding toys on wheels in the driveway or the pool area are at risk because they are too low for vehicle operators to see and they can topple over the edge of a swimming pool.
  • Water balloon slingshots: The marketers of these dangerous toys say a child can launch water-filled balloons as far as 150 feet. Along with the risk of possible face and eye injuries, balloons pose a serious choking hazard.
  • All-terrain vehicles: Children do not have the reflexes, coordination and judgment to operate motorized vehicles. You must never allow your child to operate an ATV, and should give careful thought to allowing him or her to ride as a passenger.
  • Water slides: While these slides are irresistible for all ages, teens and adults exceed the weight limit for slides meant for small children, and they could suffer neck injuries and even paralysis.
  • Trampolines and bounce houses: Inflatable bounce houses can fall over or become airborne, and backyard trampoline injuries can be catastrophic, including injuries to the cervical spine that could cause paralysis.

Pursuing recovery of damages

Although manufacturers might claim that the packaging of a dangerous toy contains the necessary safety warnings, those could be confusing. WATCH pointed out one package that warned that the product is not a toy, but another marketed the same type product as a great game. If a dangerous toy caused an injury to your child, you could seek legal counsel to determine whether you have grounds for a products liability lawsuit. If you have a viable claim, an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney can assist throughout ensuing legal proceedings.

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