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Keeping track of injuries from unsafe toys

Many Virginia parents keep track of the latest product recalls of children's toys. For many parents, the possibility that a young child will be injured by an unsafe toy is a near-constant worry. Stories of children being injured by or dying as a result of unsafe toys get a lot of attention in the news media, reinforcing that worry.

While any serious injury to a child from a toy is a tragedy, some worried parents may be comforted to hear that the actual number of such incidents in the United States is relatively small. According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, the agency received only nine reports of fatal incidents involving toys and children under age 15 in the year 2013. Most of those deaths were attributed to asphyxiation.

The number of injuries was significantly higher. In 2013, the most recent year for which the statistics are available, the estimated number of toy-related injuries that required children to be treated by emergency workers stood at 256,700. Of these injured children, 96 percent were treated and released without requiring a stay in the hospital or any longer-term care.

In an agency report, researchers break the statistics into detail, grouping the types of injuries by age group and gender of the children, as well as by type of injury. Still, the agency said it was not able to identify any statistically significant trend in these injuries from its research over the years 2009-2013.

When people are injured by unsafe products, they should report the incident to the CPSC. They may also be able to recover compensation for their damages through a lawsuit based on the theory of product liability. Tight regulation is one way to ensure that children aren't hurt by unsafe products. Another way is to hold manufacturers responsible on those occasions that a child is hurt by an unsafe product. Virginia attorneys with experience in this area of the law can help families to understand their rights.

Source: CPSC.gov, "Toy-Related Deaths and Injuries Calendar Year 2013," accessed Feb. 12, 2015

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