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Has Your Child’s Toy Been Recalled?

The holiday season is the time of year when—for a parent—things may get a little more stressful in the lead up to days like Christmas and New Year’s, but the hectic activity is worth it. This is the time when we get together with our families, celebrate our beliefs, and ring in another new year with gifts, celebrations, and new resolutions. And for people in Florida, it’s never a big surprise if family members from colder parts of the country, use this time as the perfect excuse to enjoy some of our great December weather!

But amidst all the family gatherings, busy schedules, and, of course, shopping for gifts, one of the things we sometimes forget about is making sure that what we give to our youngest family members is actually suitable. Just because something was bought at the store, complete with receipt, and an assurance from an established, legal company, doesn’t mean it’s always a safe product. Unfortunately, toys are no exception to this.

Companies Doing The Right Thing

It’s always a good thing to see companies exercising real social responsibility and taking it upon themselves to help their customers. One recent example of this is Kids Preferred LLC, who in conjunction with several different companies, voluntarily put out a recall on their wind up musical plush toy. If you have a “waggy tail” plush toy that is part of the Carter’s®, Child of Mine®, Guess How Much I Love You® or Just One You® brands, be advised that this toy was voluntarily recalled in October of this year.

Fortunately, no accidents or fatalities have occurred yet, but once the toy was released to market, a design flaw was discovered by observant parents. The metal post and the handle of the wind-up mechanism were found to be detachable when that was never part of the design. This creates some potential risk issues, as the parts are small enough to be inserted into the mouth of even a very young child, where, if swallowed, it could present a choking hazard.

Both the American and Canadian governments have now added this toy onto the list of danger items, at the urging of the company itself. However, the toy, before this risk was discovered was inexpensive and widely available all over the country at retail outlets like Walmart, Target and Carter’s. At least 500,000 were purchased around America before the recall was issued, which means that they can be anywhere in America, even right here in Florida, and maybe right in your own home.

Your Parental Obligation

If you have a toy in your home for which you are aware that a recall has been issued it is both your legal and parental responsibility to return that toy. A child’s safety may be at stake, and the company that has manufactured the toy has exercised its own legal responsibility by issuing that recall.

They will not—and legally cannot—go into your home and seize the toy in order to protect your child. At this stage, all they can do is create awareness of the danger, and accept any products that are then returned to them by parents around the country. 

This means that if you hear about this recall, and are aware that you have the toy in your home, and are even warned by others about the danger of this toy, the onus falls on you. If, after the point that others are aware of the danger, you choose to do nothing, and your child should play with the toy, encounter the defect, and choke as a result of it, it is unlikely you will be able to go to a personal injury lawyer and take up a case of negligence. This would be made much more difficult if there was evidence from others in your household, or even friends that are able to produce documentation like emails, or recall conversations with you warning you to return the toy and you did nothing.

If you want to be safe and ensure your children have a safe and happy holiday season, check your gifts. Run any new, store-purchased toys you receive through the product recall website for America, and see if they appear on the list of recent recalls. Make doubly sure to check the specific toy if you are buying it used.

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.

Has Your Child’s Toy Been Recalled?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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