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As the holidays are over it is time to take stock in the many presents your child received There has been more than 170 toy recalls during 2008, including more than 18 million items. As Christmas gets earlier and earlier each year, parents and family members worry what type of toy is age appropriate and safe for their children. December was “Safe Toys and Gifts Months” proclaimed by the organization Prevent Blindness America. It encourages everyone buying gifts to make conscious decisions to buy appropriate child gifts. No one wants to be responsible for causing serious personal injury to children.

Last year, more than 170,000 children under the age of 15 were treated at the emergency room for toy-related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. More than 80,000 of those were to children ages 5 and younger. The majority of those injuries were to the head and face. Lacerations and contusions made up most of these injuries, however choking on small parts are common as well.

Choking is the most common cause of death in children under 3, so the rule of thumb is, if the toy can fit in an empty toilet paper roll, then it’s too small for your child It is unlikely you can prevent all unsafe toys from coming in your home so parents need to be proactive in safeguarding their children. Watching your child at play is probably one of the best safeguards against injuries and second, checking for toy recalls.

A good place to start this holiday season is the Consumer Product Safety commission’s website at There you will get a complete listing of all recalled toys and products and you can also search by manufacturer and make. If your child has been injured or you suspect that a toy is dangerous, you can also report a suspicious toy at this site. In addition, the U.S. Public Interest Group has a site, that has several pamphlets on general tips about buying toys and toy safety issues. You may also sign up for their free email alert so you can be one of the first to know if a toy is recalled. Recalled toys are still being sold in stores so educate you to make wise buying decisions.

If you’ve already bought a toy before it has been recalled, you can always take it back to the retailer you purchased it from. It is their responsibility to deal with the manufacturer, not yours. If the toy has already been recalled, the retailers have a “do not sell” written into the barcode so that even if the toy is on the shelf, you couldn’t get it past the register. However, many toys are sold before the recalls ever happen. And with stores closings all over Orange County, make sure that they still have some type of return policy.

If your child has been injured in a toy-related accident, don’t hesitate to call a professional personal injury attorney with Allen, Flatt, Ballidis and Leslie. They offer a free consultation and will provide you with advice on your rights within the law.

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