Denver Child Injury Lawyer: Holiday Shoppers Should Be Cautious When Selecting Gifts for Children

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During the holiday season, shoppers search for just the right gift for their child or grandchild. However, there's much more to be concerned about than picking something the child won't want: certain toys can be dangerous to a child, said Denver child injury lawyer Jennifer L. Donaldson.

Every gift from the holiday season should carry memories of joy, and not the heartbreak that an injury or toxin-induced illness bring.

If you are a parent, grandparent, godparent, aunt or uncle to a small child, the holiday season is a time for picking out the perfect gift or gifts. However, those looking for a present for a child have more to be more to be concerned about than whether the child will like it, said Jennifer L. Donaldson, Denver child injury lawyer.

"Unfortunately, toy companies continue to manufacture products for children around the holiday season that are unsafe," Donaldson said. "It's important for those selecting these gifts to closely examine products for potential hazards, and it is incumbent upon parents to carefully monitor the presents their children are receiving."

"As someone who has represented children in injury cases, I can attest that it is something no parent or older relative should ever go through," she continued. "By using caution while buying gifts, you may be able to save your child from severe injury or illness."

Hazards can range widely, Donaldson said. Toys may have sharp edges or sharp points. They may have small parts that a child could choke upon. They could be made of chemicals that are toxic, and even contain unsafe amount of lead. Toys with poorly tested electronics may shock a child, and toys with projectiles can injure a child's eyes.

On Nov. 26, 2013, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a national advocacy organization, released its annual Trouble in Toyland report, detailing hazards in toys on the market. In addition to the problems mentioned, it found toys with unhealthy levels of phthalates, a substance used in plastics, toys that made so much noise they endangered a child's hearing, and toys with an unsafe use of magnets that, if swallowed, could cause gastroenterological injuries if ingested.

According to U.S. PIRG’s annual report some of the offending toys include:

  •     Several products in Hasbro's "Littlest Pet Shop" line that have detachable small parts that could easily be choked upon, with no warning label;
  •     Disguise, Inc.'s Captain America Soft Shield, which tested at 2,900 parts per million (ppm) for lead. The maximum amount, by law, is 90 ppm;
  •     Innovative Design's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pencil case, which contains 150 times the safe amount of a phthalate and eight times the safe amount of cadmium;
  •     Sonic Sound Sizzlers Noise Magnets, by JA-RU, can be ingested and result in gastroenterological problems; and
  •     Leap Frog Enterprises' Chat & Count Smart Phone, which makes noises that tested at more than 85 decibels.

"The U.S. PIRG guide serves as a great guide of what not to buy," said the Denver child injury lawyer. "However, it cannot contain every item a person might buy for a child. To keep young ones safe from injury, shoppers should take a careful look at every aspect of a gift they buy for any child younger than a teenager."

Products that have hazards are supposed to carry warning labels, but as the PIRG guide demonstrates, some do not, Donaldson said. Some issues to look out for, she continued, include:

  •     Checking whether there are sharp edges or points;
  •     Looking for labels like "non-toxic;"
  •     Following the age recommendations for the product. People often buy toys that have an older range believing the child will "grow into them," but the age ranges take safety into consideration;
  •     Looking for the "Underwriters Laboratories (UL)" label on electrical toys, which

Parents should also check every toy and present their child received, Donaldson said.

"If buyers and parents are both cautious, then at least two sets of eyes have examined a child's gift," she said. "Every gift from the holiday season should carry memories of joy, and not the heartbreak that an injury or toxin-induced illness bring."

If your child is injured by a dangerous toy or by the negligence of a third party, then parents can help to protect their child’s future by seeking compensation for their child's injuries. A dedicated child injury attorney can assist the parents with mounting medical expenses and the child by ensuring adequate compensation to provide for future needs, including medical expenses, by pursuing an appropriate settlement or verdict from the responsible party.

Jennifer L. Donaldson, of the Law Office of Jennifer L. Donaldson, is a Denver personal injury lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in fighting to help make the victims of negligence and harmful acts whole, including children.

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Jennifer Donaldson
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