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Do you have a product liability claim for your child's toy?

In January, parents in the USA had a mold scare related a beloved chew toy. Cutting open their children's plastic Sophie the Giraffe, they found mold inside. Apparently, a dentist warned them in her article in Good Housekeeping after she found mold in her child's toy.

As alarming as this is, according to experts weighing in, mold is apparently fairly harmless in the toy, unless the child has an immune disorder or a mold allergy. The toy company has a warning on the label giving instructions for cleaning and use that would prevent mold.

Not all toy scares end so 'benignly'.  Flaws in toys are not always harmless, and sometimes they are actually deadly, which is why hundreds of toys are recalled each year.

Toys can become defective at any stage of the design, creation, or selling of the item, and if that happens, manufacturer or the seller may be liable.

Parents pursue product liability claims  if they can prove that the toy is defective, dangerous because of the defects, and that they suffered a loss.

Toys can be defective in many ways, here are three common reasons that an injury could happen due to product liability in toys:

  • Design defects. A toy's flaws might result from unsafe design choices by the company who created the toy. IKEA recalled a drum set last year because they way it was designed allowed small children to disconnect the pieces and it was a choking hazard.
  • Manufacturing defects. A toy's defects might actually be due to the negligence of the company that assembled the toy.It may or may notbe their fault. In a famous case, two million toys made in China were recalled by a Mattel. It turned out that the official plan called for lead paint which is not only illegal, but also toxic.
  • Marketing defects. Toys need to have warning labels and clear instructions for how to use them. If Sophie the Giraffe is correctly labeled with clear instructions, they may just squeak by without a product liability suit. That is, unless they haven't mentioned this on their label, and someone with an immune disorder suffers a serious health incident due to mold growing inside.

Sometimes toys are defective or dangerous, and parents may or may not be aware that they might have a product liability claim.

If your child is using their toy according to the instructions and there is a serious problem, or health risk, there may be a bigger product problem due to the design, manufacture, or marketing defects. Maybe there isn't. Every situation is different; you may want to speak to a personal injury or product liability lawyer to ask questions about your particular legal issue.

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