Buyer Beware: Dangerous Christmas Toys Could Be Hiding In Plain Sight

Buyer Beware: Dangerous Christmas Toys Could Be Hiding In Plain Sight

As consumers, we trust manufacturers and federal government oversight to keep unsafe products off the shelves, but that doesn’t always happen. Every year in Orlando, toy liability cases crop up and many of them stem from products that parents were unaware could be dangerous to their children. So, if such toys are on the shelves, what can consumers do to avoid buying dangerous Christmas toys this year? Don’t Assume Dangerous Toys Are Reported In one landmark case, Aqua-Leisure Industries, Inc. was hit with a civil penalty of $650,000 for failing to report defects involving a line of inflatable baby boats. Under federal law, companies are required to report defects within 24 hours of becoming aware of them to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Aqua-Leisure knowingly failed to report a defect wherein the leg strap in the seat of the inflatable baby boats could tear, causing children to fall into the water unexpectedly. Between 2001 and 2008, Aqua-Leisure had received several reports of incidents involving more than one line of inflatable baby boats. This was even after a recall of 90,000 boats in 2001. It took until 2009 for Aqua-Leisure to report the incidents to the CSPC. This led to a recall of 4 million inflatable baby boats that had been sold between 2002 and 2009. The takeaway message here is that parents should not assume that just because a toy is on the market, means it is 100% safe. What Can Parents Do? Social media and the internet are great research tools, especially when there isn’t an official toy liability case or product recall to research. If you...
Watch Out For Dangerous Christmas Toys Marketed Under New Names

Watch Out For Dangerous Christmas Toys Marketed Under New Names

Sometimes, when a toy is recalled, the manufacturer will remarket it under a new name, especially if the toy had proven popular with consumers. Aqua Dots is one example of this. In the early to mid 2000’s, Aqua Dots was a hugely popular plastic bead art set. Kids could create their own colorful designs, then set the design by spritzing the beads with water. The water effectively melted the beads together so they formed a solid piece of art that could then be lifted, moved, or handled without fear of falling apart. Sounds fun and educational, right? The problem was Aqua Dots were toxic and several children ingested them. Testing showed that the beads were coated with a chemical that turned into the date-rape drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) when digested! At least one child who ingested the beads suffered permanent brain damage and won a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. Aqua Dots was pulled off the market, but not for long. Soon, Pixos and Chixos showed up for sale by the same manufacturer – essentially the exact same toy as Aqua Dots. Product Safety Laws Rely Heavily On Self-Regulation As incredible as it is to hear, many product safety laws rely on the manufacturers themselves to report toxins in their products! If a company does not declare the toxins, the product may not be tested, and could make it to market, which is what happened with Aqua Dots. What is even more shocking is that the U.S. distributor of the toy, Spin Master, has reportedly said that they still don’t test for the hazardous chemicals in their products,...
Magnetix Remain A Dangerous Christmas Toy

Magnetix Remain A Dangerous Christmas Toy

Continuing our look at dangerous Christmas toys, we have to note Magnetix. Magnetix are magnet construction toys consisting of various shaped plastic building pieces and steel ball bearings. All pieces have tiny magnets embedded inside so the pieces can be connected with one another to form geometric shapes. While the toys were hailed as a great learning vehicle, prompting kids to use their imagination and critical thinking skills to build 3D shapes, they were also extremely dangerous. From 2005-2007 over 1,500 incidents of magnets becoming loose and separated from the toys were reported. One child died after ingesting a magnet, another aspirated, and nearly 30 more suffered intestinal injuries. The original line was recalled in 2006, but a new line was released, redesigned to be harder to swallow, and warnings have been added to the packaging. Despite these changes, we feel that Magnetix still pose a serious danger to children, keeping them atop our dangerous Christmas toys list. How Dangerous Toys Lead To Orlando Toy Liability Cases   How do dangerous toys end up on the market? Consumers trust manufacturers to have gone through and passed safety testing, and yet, accidents happen. Sometimes, the danger can be traced to user error, but just as frequently it is a design or manufacturing defect or oversight that leads to problems. When incidents arise, it opens the door to a product liability lawsuit. Just like anywhere else, an Orlando dangerous toy lawsuit starts with an accident, usually involving a child. There is a sense of urgency and immediacy when a child is injured by a toy because the potential exists for so...
Hoverboards Top The List Of Dangerous Christmas Toys

Hoverboards Top The List Of Dangerous Christmas Toys

If a hoverboard is on your gift-giving list this year you may want to rethink the gift. Hoverboards landed 70 kids in the emergency room just days after Christmas in 2015 making them one of the most dangerous Christmas toys you can give. We’ve seen a rise in the number of incidents involving hoverboards. Product defects and user error are to blame for hoverboard injuries resulting in both class action lawsuits and Orlando toy liability cases. Product Liability Injuries Many injuries stem from hoverboards that malfunction, catch fire, or even explode. Particularly problematic are the lithium ion batteries that power the toys. These types of batteries rely on highly flammable liquid electrolytes that are prone to explosion when they overheat. What should be one of the safest acts of owning a hoverboard, charging it, has become a very risky action. Just a small surge in power or batteries that receive too much voltage can result in a hoverboard explosion or fire. The danger is so high that some cities have banned their use on public sidewalks and walkways and some airlines refuse to allow them on planes. Hoverboard manufacturers have a responsibility to provide a safe and functioning product, but unfortunately, there are no safety standards for the manufacture of the devices. Even so, there is no excuse for injuries occurring when the toy is being used exactly as intended, or worse, not being used at all, but simply being charged. No one should lose their home to fire because a hoverboard overheated. Preventing Personal Injuries From Hoverboards Emergency rooms have seen hoverboard injuries of all types on both...
General Motors Ignition Switch Product Liability Lawsuits Can Proceed

General Motors Ignition Switch Product Liability Lawsuits Can Proceed

A major question regarding GM’s liability for pre-2009 ignition switch defects has finally been answered. The question was whether or not the company could avoid liability for ignition switch defects that occurred prior to the company’s 2009 bankruptcy restructuring. For some time, it looked like the answer to that question was Yes, New GM would be protected from pre-bankruptcy claims. Orlando GM attorney Ken McKenna of DWKMRS explains, “The bankruptcy judge who oversaw the bankruptcy restructuring issued a very detailed order. The judge’s theory was that the GM crisis combined with the global financial crisis was a unique circumstance, and one of the casualties was ignition switch defect victims from before the bankruptcy restructuring. At that time, GM had yet to publically acknowledge the ignition switch defect and many victims were unaware that they had potential claims that would be impacted by the bankruptcy and restructuring.” Now, a federal court of appeals has ruled that New GM cannot avoid lawsuits related to ignition switch defects that occurred prior to the 2009 restructuring. New GM has asked the appellate court to reconsider its opinion and will likely take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court before paying pre-bankruptcy claims. This is good news for victims who pursued ignition switch lawsuits rather than participating in the New GM settlement fund. Old lawsuits may be revived, including class-action lawsuits, and even victims who were denied settlement deals may now have a chance at obtaining compensation for their losses. In addition, the many victims who didn’t even know they had a potential claim prior to 2009 may be eligible for compensation. Background On...
Jeep Grand Cherokee Burst into Flames, Killing Trapped Passengers

Jeep Grand Cherokee Burst into Flames, Killing Trapped Passengers

Orlando personal injury attorney Sam King cautions Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty owners to be wary about the safety of their vehicles. As an attorney with decades of experience successfully representing injured clients, King is skeptical of Chrysler’s claim that certain Jeep models from1993 to 2004 are safe and points to one recent case as an example. Last year, Cindi Munoz-Reyes’ husband died in a fiery crash on an Ontario highway, and now she’s speaking out against Chrysler, the car manufacturer she believes is responsible, by filing a wrongful death suit. The Story Behind the Case On Jan. 22, 2015, Rosalio Munoz-Reyes and a co-worker were inside a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was rear-ended on the 60 Freeway. Gas tanks on Grand Cherokees from certain model years (including 2000) are situated behind the rear axle, which Munoz-Reyes’ attorney asserts is the reason the Jeep burst into flames seconds after the collision. Rosalio was trapped inside and burned to death, leaving Cindi and their two young children behind. Chrysler Recall While most consumers are aware of the General Motors recall due to faulty ignition switches, the Chrysler recall is less-known. In fact, the number of fatalities due to gas tank placement in Jeep’s Grand Cherokee and Liberty is similar to the number of deaths caused by GM’s ignition switches. In June of 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asked Chrysler to recall Grand Cherokees built between 1993 and 1998 due to concerns about gas tanks catching on fire, but there were no recalls for later model years between 1999 and 2004. Munoz-Reyes’ attorney said, “The company should...