Articles Tagged with “Boston product liability attorneys”

There is “Trouble in Toyland.” For the 33rd year, U.S. PIRG has released its annual survey on toy safety. This is a widely respected survey, which over the years has dispensed valuable information to protect children and families. The survey has led to the recall of more than 150 unsafe toys.

Highlights from this year’s report:

  • Toys which have been recalled for safety issues over the past year
  • Toys which contain high levels of toxic materials, such as boron
  • Toys which do not meet labeling requirements
  • Toy regulations

Toy recalls

Over the past year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced more than 40 recalls of toys and children’s products, such as wagons and strollers. These recalls represent 2.7 million units. During its survey, the group did not find any recalled toys or products still being sold. This is good news for consumers, but you still need to check products for yourself by going online. You can visit the CPSC Recall list.

You can also check the U.S. PIRG’s “Trouble in Toyland” report, so you can be informed while you shop or to see if you have any recalled toys in your home (See Appendix 4, page 29). Many people do not hear about recalls so it’s worth checking.

If you find a recalled product, you can contact the manufacturer for a refund or a repair. In some cases with inexpensive toys, it may be best just to discard it from your home in a safe way. Move onto other toys.

U.S. PIRG has long advocated for improvements to the CPSC’s recall system. One concern is that companies are not required to report how many consumers actually return products for repairs or refunds.

Toxic Materials

The report focused on two toxic materials in toys: Lead and boron.

slime boy

Beware of Slime: U.S. PIRG Researchers found 6 popular Slime sets which contain dangerous levels of boron.

Lead. Lead was banned from household paint, children’s products and cookware 40 years ago. But federal law states children’s products made after August 2011 can contain no more than 100 parts per million. Because lead is highly dangerous when breathed in, be careful when buying toys such as paint sets and other products. Electronic devices can contain some lead parts, as can metal components of bicycles. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all products for children contain no more than trace amounts of lead (40 ppm).

Boron. Your child may be begging you to buy one of those popular slime toy sets. U.S. PIRG says you can’t trust these products are safe. Researchers found six slime products on the market had dangerously high levels of boron. One brand, “Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime,” contained concentrations as high as 4700 parts per million (ppm).

Boron is a chemical element used mostly in glass manufacturing, pesticides, antiseptics and detergents. Children can ingest small amounts, even less than 3.68 ppm and suffer symptoms of nausea, vomiting and potentially longer term impacts on reproductive health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports certain levels can even be lethal. Say the “Kangaroos Original Super Cool” slime has up to 4700 parts per million (ppm). Then consider that six states have made recommendations on boron limits in drinking water, non exceeding 1 ppm. It’s a frightening discrepancy. U.S. PIRG has asked the CPSC to explore setting limits on boron levels, as Canada and other countries have.

We recommend parents spend their money elsewhere this year. There are so many toys out there, which your child would enjoy without risk to their safety. Likewise, if your child plays at another friend’s home or goes to daycare, make sure the adult in charge knows you don’t want your child playing with slime sets.

Slime Toys with Dangerous Levels of Boron
Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime – Amazon – 4700 ppm
Kidsco Glow in The Dark Slime  – Amazon, Walmart – 4600 ppm
Toysmith Jupiter Juice Slime  – Amazon, Walmart – 1900 ppm
iBaseToy Fluffy Slime – Amazon – 1500 ppm
Haniex Soft Magic Crystal Slime – Amazon – 1400 ppm
Meland Fluffy Slime Amazon Boron – 1100 ppm
Data from U.S. PIRG “Trouble in Toyland” Report 2018.

Labeling

toy testing cylinder for small parts

Drawing of the small cylinder test for toys. Credit: CPSC website.

Toymakers are responsible for properly labeling their products, especially those with small parts which are not intended for children under age 3. This warning is essential. Children are often putting small parts in their mouths. From 2001 to 2016, more than 110 children died this way, according to U.S. PIRG.

What’s important for consumers to know is the CPSC has a Small Parts Ban. Toys must be tested to make sure they cannot pass through a test cylinder, which has a diameter of 1.25 inches. The cylinder has a slanted bottom, opening 1 to 2.25 inches. If a toy can pass through, it must be properly labeled: WARNING: Choking Hazard-Small Parts. Not for Children Under 3 Yrs.

Researchers identified a few toys which are being sold online without age appropriate labels this year – Hatchimals and L.O.L. Surprise toys. Parents should watch and carefully inspect every purchase you make. A good rule of thumb is to open every toy well in advance of giving it to a young children. Open it out of your children’s reach, such as in a basement.

Balloons are another product which are not being labeled properly. Balloons should come with warnings that they are a potential choking hazard to children under 8 years old. Yet, 87 percent of the latex balloons on Amazon.com carried no warnings, according the survey.

Toy Regulations

As consumers, we deal with packaging, price tags and shipping dates more than regulations. But the “Trouble in Toyland” report shares three important regulations on page 17:

  • Small Parts Ban (1979)
  • The Child Safety Prevention Act of 1994
  • The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008

Read the 2018 “Trouble in Toyland” report.


About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Free Legal Consultation: 800-379-1244

The Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in handling personal injury and product liability cases. This holiday season, we are committed to sharing our experience through our Project KidSafe blog series focusing on toy safety.

Learn more about Breakstone, White & Gluck: www.bwglaw.com.

We hope you are never injured, but if you or a loved one are, Breakstone, White & Gluck offers a free legal consultation to help you learn your rights. Our lawyers specialize in all areas of personal injury law, including car accidents, product liability, traumatic brain injuries and medical malpractice. We represent clients in Boston, Worcester, the South Shore, the North Shore, Cape Cod, MetroWest and throughout Western Massachusetts. If we can ever help you, please call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

hoverboard.jpgDespite fires and hard falls, the hoverboard was one of the year’s most popular gifts.
Reports of hoverboard fires began before the holidays. Amazon even told consumers to return some models in mid-December and notified sellers that they must provide documentation showing hoverboards are compliant with safety standards. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) opened an investigation on Dec. 16th, after reports of 10 hoverboard-related fires in Washington, California, New York and other states. The fires often happen during charging.

The CPSC has also received dozens of reports of hoverboard-related falls from hospital ERs, including concussions, fractures and internal organ injuries. Christmas Day brought more injuries, revealed as photos and videos were posted to social media.

Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida fell when he tried out his daughter’s hoverboard. He tweeted a photo of himself wearing a sling:

“Confirmed – #hoverboard is for kids. My daughter got it. I ended up in @BaptistHealthSF #ER. #hoverboardChristmas.”

We do not think this product is safe for any age. But we agree with his colleague, Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who tweeted back: “Ouch. At least it didn’t catch on fire!”


News Headlines
One headline from the Washington Post: “Thanks for ruining Christmas, hoverboards.” Below is a video from the report.

Our Thoughts

This is a dangerous product and safety concerns need to be addressed. If you received one, consider returning it. If you keep it, follow instructions for charging it. Do not charge it overnight or while you are outside the home. Also, remember most airlines have banned hoverboards due to the fire risk.

If you do ride, always wear a proper helmet and padding while using this product. Ask what the local traffic laws are before use.


Drones
Many people also received drones as holiday gifts. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) predicted more than 1 million drones would be gifts on Christmas Day.

drone-186.jpgOn Christmas Day, photos and videos of drones crashing on the ground, into the neighbor’s roof and even into other family members filled social media. Read this Washington Post report, “Wear a Helmet: All those Christmas Drones are Falling Out of the Sky.”

The FAA has set up a website to register drones. Anyone with an aircraft weighing from a half-pound to 55 pounds must register with the FAA. Drone owners who are 13 and older must register on the FAA website. Parents with younger children are expected to register on their behalf.

Drone Owners Must Take Care
There are serious concerns about drones interfering with airplane traffic, but there are also very real concerns about general transportation safety. Drone owners must take care to be sure that they do not interfere with traffic, bicyclists or pedestrians. Be considerate and be aware of local laws and ordinances related to drone use.
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20141027_airbag.jpgLast week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued an advisory urging the public to act immediately on recall notices impacting 7.8 million cars with Takata airbags. The airbags are now linked to four deaths and more than 100 injuries.

If you have not already done so, please immediately check if your vehicle’s airbags have been recalled. Visit Safercar.gov. Select your auto manufacturer and enter your vehicle identification number, or VIN.

While car manufacturers are required to notify owners of recalls, do not wait to receive a letter for the company. While many of the airbags were previously recalled, you may have missed an earlier letter or may not have appreciated how serious the recall actually is.

toysafety-2013list-200.jpgThe World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. has released its 41st annual “10 Worst Toys” list. This year, the Boston-based non-profit nominated toys which posed a choking hazard, had improper labeling and several “toy weapons,” including toy guns, sling shots and boomerangs.

The report said, “These toys, that resemble real weaponry, have no place in the hands of children. Evidence of the potential for tragedy is the recent death of a thirteen-year-old boy in Santa Rose, CA, who was fatally shot by a police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon.”

In one case, the World Against Toys Causing Harm (or W.A.T.C.H.) caught a vendor selling slingslots on Amazon.com. Massachusetts law prohibits sale of slingshots and New Jersey, Rhode Island and Washington have similar laws.

W.A.T.C.H. urged consumers to be vigilant even if they are purchasing toys from a well-known brand name. It stated there have been 29 toy recalls in the past 12 months, which included over one million units of unsafe and defective toys in the United States and Canada. Of these, 20 recalls were initiated for toys which posed choking and ingestion risks.

This year’s list includes:

1) Army Force Automatic Rifle
Hazard: Realistic toy weaponry and inconsistent age recommendations on labeling and Amazon.com.

2) Big Rock & Roll Ball Pit
Hazard: Potential for impact injuries because children as young as 3-years-old are encouraged to climb inside a rolling, inflatable ball. W.A.T.C.H. also criticizes the package, which shows children playing with no parental supervision.

3) Max Steel Interactive Steel with Turbo Sword
Hazard: Potential for impact and facial injuries.

4) Disney Princess Backpack Fishing Kit
Hazard: Potential for chemical ingestion injuries. The cardboard insert warns the play item may contain lead which may be harmful if eaten or chewed.

5) Black Widow Folding Slingshot
Hazard: Potential for serious bodily injuries. Illegal to sell in Massachusetts and three other states. On Amazon.com, the product carried a “for 6 months and up” age recommendation.

6) Little Drummer
Hazard: Potential for ingestion and choking hazards. The drum is sold for babies as young as 12-months-old and the drumstick could block a child’s airway.

7) Boomerang “Throw & Catch”
Hazard: Boomerangs should not be sold to children of any age. Online toy recommendations and those on the package were also inconsistent. Online, the boomerang was recommended for children 16 months and up versus on the package, which stated it was not for children under 3 years.

8) Disney Baby Snow White
Hazard: Potential for choking hazards. The toy is marketed for children 2 years old and up, but has small detachable pieces, such as hair accessories.

9) Nerf N-Strike Jolt Blaster
Hazard: This toy is marketed for children age 8 and older. It has a dart which can be shot and potentially cause eye injuries. On the Hasbro website, the product description reads “Hide it in your pocket to maneuver in close to your enemy, then pull down the cocking handle to ready your shot. Pull the trigger and reload fast to win the day!”

10) The Spooner-Freestyle
Hazard: Potential for head and other impact injuries. This toy resembles a skateboard without wheels and is marketed for children age 3 and older. It does not mention use of safety gear and none is worn by children on the packaging.

Related:
10 Worst Toys of 2013, W.A.T.C.H.

Trouble in Toyland, U.S. PIRG.
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