Product Liability and Children’s Toys - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers

Product Liability and Children’s Toys


People assume the toys they buy for their children are safe and will not cause them any harm. However, accidents caused by the toys children play with cause injuries and deaths each year. Canadian laws and regulations impose a burden on manufacturers and sellers of children’s toys to ensure the toys sold are safe, but toys posing choking hazards and other life-threatening dangers to children continue to be made and sold. Unfortunately, choking on small objects is not the only hazard posed by defective toys.

Hazards posed by defective toys

According to a study released by the Public Health Agency of Canada, at least half of the injuries to children and teens up to 19 years of age are due to consumer products. Even though the government has set standards for toys sold and distributed in Canada, defective toys and other children’s products continue to make their way into the hands of consumers where they can cause injuries.

Among the hazards addressed by government regulations are the following:

  • Choking, suffocation and strangulation
  • Lacerations and punctures
  • Burns
  • Poisoning from toxic substances, such as paints and other materials
  • Electric shock and electrocution

Any product manufactured and distributed for use by children is considered to be a toy if it is to be used for learning or for play according to the definition used by the government.

Product liability and children’s toys

As a general rule, a toy or other product is unsafe if it has any of the following:

  • Design defects
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Marketing or instructions defects

Marketing defects include improper or inadequate instructions or warnings. For instance, a children’s toy with removable parts that are small enough to pose a choking hazard if placed in the mouth and swallowed by an infant or young child should have warnings posted on it to alert parents to the hazards. Warnings on the packaging and in the instructions should also alert parents to there being removable parts and the ages of the children for whom it is recommended. Essentially, any danger or hazard that would not be readily apparent to a consumer should be disclosed on the packing or in the instructions.

Manufacturing defects occur during the production process. The product might be properly designed, but the materials used to make it or the paints and finishes could present a hazard for children. Paints containing toxic substances could be harmful to children who might put the toys into their mouths. The use of inferior materials is another way in which a product could turn out to be defective due to a problem in the manufacturing process.

A properly manufactured product might still pose a hazard to children if there is a defect in the basic design of the product. A stuffed animal might seem cute and cuddly, but it could pose a suffocation hazard for infants. Another example of a dangerous design defect would be a dinosaur made of plastic with a pointed tail that could cause a puncture wound if a child were to fall against it while playing.

Parents helping to protect their children

Health Canada regulations and product inspections help to limit the number of unsafe and defective products reaching consumers. Parents can protect their children from harm by carefully reading the instructions and warnings that come with the toys and other products they allow their children to use. They should spend time showing children how to use the toys and notify Health Canada immediately if a defective product is discovered.

An experienced personal injury lawyer can help

When a child is hurt by a toy, the product liability lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have been helping victims throughout Ontario receive compensation for injuries they suffer from unsafe products and children’s toys. Find out what we can do for you by contacting our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or by visiting our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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