New York Personal Injury Lawyer Offers Tips for Keeping Kids Safe This Holiday Season

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The rush to buy toys for the tots in your life isn't an excuse to put dangerous toys in your children's hands this holiday season. Prominent New York personal injury lawyer has tips for parents on how to keep kids safe.

"If a child is injured by a toy parents should seek medical attention immediately; and then contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission and report the incident to help prevent other children from being harmed by the dangerous product."

With only 14 shopping days left before Christmas and 10 days to the start of Chanukah, the rush to buy and wrap toys for the tots in your life isn’t an excuse to put dangerous products into your child’s hands at holiday time.

Nor is saving money, while a good idea, especially in this economy, a reason for parents to get careless and overlook the importance of safe toys for kids.

“Take a moment and look online for customer reviews, product recalls, and any news about the manufacturer,” recommends Richard Gurfein, a New York personal injury lawyer and managing partner of Gurfein Douglas, a prominent New York personal injury law firm.

As a father and grandfather himself, Gurfein says some of the most common accidents to children can be prevented if parents follow these 4 simple steps:

Step 1

BUY AMERICAN. It’s a good way to make sure toys meet safety standards set forth by the federal government.

Step 2

VISIT HEALTHYTOYS.ORG. HealthyToys performs independent safety tests and chemical analysis of common toys to determine their true levels of toxic materials, like lead. Healthy Toys also provides a list of the best and worst tested toys, reviews of independently tested products, and will even test specific toys upon request.

Step 3

CHECK FOR RECALLS. Look online for recalls and customer reviews before buying a child a toy. Look for reviews of the manufacturer and for possible recalls of other toys they have produced.

Step 4

SHOP ONLINE. Shopping online gives parents an opportunity to research as they shop. There are often a wider variety of healthy toys online than can be found in a department store.

Gurfein suggests that parents might also want to check out two additional websites that provide child product safety information: The U.S. Public Interest Research Group http://www.uspirg.org; and World Against Toys Causing Harm, or W.A.T.C.H http://www.toysafety.org.

Recently the CPSC announced a voluntary recall of “Hello Kitty” a zip up hoodie sweatshirt distributed by NTD Apparel in Los Angeles but made in China, because the drawstring through the hood poses a strangulation hazard to children. “Molly” and “Betsy” style wooden cribs manufactured by LaJobi, Inc. of Cranbury, NJ made headlines lately and were recalled after reports of the death of a one-year-old girl whose head and neck became entrapped in the headboard cut-out.

Further, Gurfein said, everything from toys to children’s furniture to cribs and even clothing can contain toxic levels of lead.    

“If lead is ingested by a young child,” Gurfein explained, “it can cause a brain injury that can lead to significant learning disabilities and impede the progress of normal intellectual development.”

Gurfein advises that if a child is injured by a toy, parents should seek medical attention immediately. He also advises parents to notify the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and report the toy they found to be dangerous.

“After the child has received proper medical attention,” Gurfein said, “parents should consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling products liability cases.

“If the child’s injury is caused by a dangerous product,” he added, “it could result in an action against the manufacturer and anyone else who participated in putting the product into the ‘stream of commerce. What’s more, when a middleman gets involved with the product, like for example a retailer who explains a product’s use, they become liable to the injured parties as well.”

Gurfein cautions parents never to buy toys for very young children with parts small enough to fit through the cardboard tube on toilet paper role. He warns that these toys are not safe for children under 3, or for any child who still puts things in their mouths. “Even latex balloons can present a choking hazard for small children. Mylar balloons are safer,” he said.

“Children under 6 years of age do not always play with toys in a safe manner,” he explained. “Toys with sharp edges or pointed tips should be avoided. And, toys that run on batteries should be inspected to make sure that battery terminals don’t come loose and rub against each other. If the two terminals do come in contact, they can cause the battery, and the toy, to overheat and burn an unsuspecting child.”

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Richard Jachetti
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