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What Chicago parents don’t know about dangerous toys

Chicago parents may assume all children's products sold to consumers are safe. After all, we have strong government rules set up to safeguard us against the sale of dangerous children's toys. As high as safety standards are in the U.S., some defective children's products slip into the marketplace.

In December 2014, a disturbing report about the commonness of toy injuries was published in Clinical Pediatrics. Researchers reviewed nationwide toy injury statistics between 1999 and 2011. The report stated child victims of toy-related injuries were treated on the average of every three minutes in U.S. emergency rooms.

Toy injury rates soared 40 percent over 22 years. Sixty-eight percent of toy injuries among all children were due to collisions or falls. Researchers believe the popularity of non-motorized scooters were responsible for the increase.

Are parents ignoring recalls? According to Nationwide Children's Hospital researchers, many toy manufacturers make halfhearted efforts to inform parents about defective toys. Parents are largely unaware of the dangers to their children until an accident occurs.

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. is an organization that helps parents select safe toys. A WATCH list of hazards includes toys with batteries, small or removable parts or attachments and many others. Caution is advised when purchasing toys online and permitting the use of bonus toys tied to other purchases, like fast-food prizes – the toys may not contain warning labels or instructions.

The injuries children suffer vary by age. The extensive journal study found emergency rooms treat more than a dozen choking injuries for children under 5 every day, while older children often suffer toy riding-related injuries. Researchers noted four out of every five toy injuries occurred in a child's home.

Our youngest consumers are not responsible for injuries caused by toys. Manufacturers must design, make and sell products that are safe for children to use or face product liability claims for injuries and deaths.

Source: W.A.T.C.H.: World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc., "W.A.T.C.H. Lists “Toy Hazards to Watch Out For”" accessed Mar. 06, 2015

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