As Arizona Personal Injury attorneys, we regularly handle all types of cases including when manufactured products injure, maim, and kill people, including children. This is called products liability law, a complex area of the law here in Arizona.
Toy manufacturers release new toys for children daily. Parents willingly buy these toys for their kids. Unbeknownst to the parents, some of these toys have latent dangers. Should parents shoulder the blame if their child is injured by one of these latent dangers? That’s what toy manufacturers argue – since the parents paid good money for the toys and bring them into their homes, the parents caused their child’s injuries or death.
This is ludicrous.
However, this is exactly what happened to a Gilbert couple, after their son swallowed beads contained in the popular Aqua Dots toys. A Chinese manufacturer used a cheaper chemical to manufacture the Aqua Dots, and this cheaper chemical metabolized into the date rape drug when ingested. After the boy swallowed the beads, he became violently ill. Now, eight years later, the boy has permanent brain damage as a result.
The parents brought a formal lawsuit suing an Australian distributor and the local retail store that sold the product. These defendants blamed the Chinese manufacturer and the boy's parents. Evnetually, the parents were successful in defeating these arguments and the jury awarded compensation for their child’s permanent damage.
According to Newsweek, a study published in the Clinical Pediatricts journal found that in the United States, a child presents to an emergency room for a toy related injury every three minutes.
The scary part is: These toy manufacturers willingly point the finger at the parent for these personal injuries in three different ways:
1. “You Brought the Toy Into Your Home.” Parents rely on toy manufacturers’ research and testing. It is imprudent and illogical to force parents to test every toy that they bring into the home. When parents buy a toy at the store, they buy that research and testing. When a company skirts on its duties, it buys a lawsuit.
2. “The Child Misused the Toy.” Again, parents rely on toy manufactuers designing a product that cannot be misused in a way that causes injuries. For example, a company should not market a toy that poses a severe choking hazard. It should design the toy in a way that eliminates the choking hazard. Parents should not bear this burden – they purchase these items from the store for good money and have a reasonable expectation that the toy is safely designed.
3. “Watch Your Child.” This is perhaps the toy manufacturer’s favorite argument. After all, the toy manufactuerer’s CEO is not legally responsible for watching your children. While that’s technically correct, accidents do happen. Children swallow toy parts and fall off of scooters and bicycles. However, the toy manufacturer is legally responsible for mitigating the likelihood of injuries. For example, the Aqua Dots manufacturer should have used a chemical that does not metabolize into the date rape drug if an accident happens, and the child swallows a piece. Even if the parent should have been more attentive, the parent is not responsible for a manufacturer’s cost-saving decision that exposes their child to grave danger.
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This summer, toy manufacturers will display new toys for children to enjoy in the pool and at the beach. If your child is injured by one of these toys (or any toy) call Torgenson Law. We’ve handled numerous products liability cases and would love to be your personal injury attorney.