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Did your holiday include a trip to an ER?

It's only natural to enjoy the excitement of watching your children unwrap gifts during the holidays. Throughout the shopping season leading to up your gift-giving festivities, you probably stood in checkout lines with other Missouri parents for 10 minutes or more at a time, waiting to purchase your goods, and never expecting one of those items would injure your child.

It's all worth it, right? The time, effort and anticipation all lead to a room full of giggles and smiles as your surprised children unwrap the toys and gift items you've chosen especially for them. All too often, those happy holiday moments turn tragic, when children try to play with long-awaited toys, unaware (as are their parents) the items are defective and/or highly dangerous. If your child had to be rushed to an emergency room after playing with a new toy this past Christmas, you understand the devastation, suffering and outright fear associated with such situations.

Toy hazards that place children in harm's way

Whether your child's injury was the result of one of the defects or hazards listed below or some other malfunction or risk, you are certainly not alone in your predicament. In fact, some studies estimate children being rushed to hospitals once every three minutes due to toy injuries. These are some of the most common hazards:

  • Magnets: Many parents buy their children magnetic toys. There have been several recalls of high-powered magnet toys due to serious risks they pose to children who play with them.
  • Chokable parts: Especially among children age five and under, small parts that can be dislodged or removed from toys are extremely dangerous. Many urgent situations include young children who have choked on toy parts.
  • Burns: A year or so ago, hoverboards were a trend gift item at Christmas. In the weeks and months that followed, news of lawsuits continued to surface as parents and others sought compensation for damages after hoverboards allegedly caught fire during charging and caused serious burns.

No parent wants to watch his or her child suffer, particularly at Christmastime. Many such injuries may have been preventable were it not for inadequate warning labels, instructions or toy design. You will likely remember your child's tragic accident for the rest of your life. In fact, he or she may have suffered lasting physical effects from the injury.

Who is liable for damages?

It's understandable if you experienced feelings of anger and frustration in addition to emotional trauma after witnessing your child's suffering. There are laws to govern product defects (although they vary by state), and several parties may possibly be legally accountable for a child's toy-related injury:

  • Manufacturers: A toy maker is obligated to ensure consumer safety. Allowing a known defective toy to make its way into the hands of consumers is against the law.
  • Distributors: Companies who store defective products in warehouses and ship them out to retailers may also be legally accountable for toy injuries in certain circumstances.
  • Salespersons: Selling a defective toy that causes injury to a child may carry liability in court.

Getting your child the care that is needed

If your child suffered an injury by a toy he or she got for Christmas, the New Year calendar might consist of doctor visits, pre- or post surgery appointments, physical therapy or other meetings necessary in recovery. It's crucial for parents like you to realize the parent is not to blame, although you've probably replayed the accident in your thoughts a thousand times, wishing you hadn't bought that toy.

The issue is not that you gave your child a gift. The issue is neither you nor your child were rightly protected from harm due to defects or negligence. Medical treatment is often very expensive, and depending on the severity of your child's injuries, supplies and assistance needed in recovery may add to those expenses.

By acting alongside a skilled product liability attorney to file a claim in a civil court, you may seek maximum compensation for damages to help your child get the needed care to achieve as full a recovery as possible.

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