5 Reasons the Holiday Seasons can be scary!

How to avoid defective products!

The December holidays can be exciting, especially for families with young children. Unsafe toys, however, make the holidays downright scary for parents. That's why parents must know how to avoid defective products/toys.

Five hazards from defective products deserve special vigilance.

The joyous times of December holidays, whether Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, are celebrations of abundance—large trees, splashy parties, weeks of excitement, and big expectations of wonderful toys. Parents are wise to use an abundance of caution, though, this and every holiday season as they shop for toys. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG) and the law firm of Ginsburg & Associates remind shoppers of five common, and often overlooked, toy hazards that could lead to tragedy amidst the merriment.

This year’s cautionary tale includes defective products that create swallowing hazards, toxic chemicals, and deafening noises. These five hazards hardly complete the picture, either, which is why PennPIRG encourages parents to investigate the complete report, in order to learn how to avoid defective products.

Identifying Defective Products

Swallowing Hazards

Small objects that either come with toys as separate pieces or that come apart from toys through typical childish play are swallowing hazards. Parents can test against this scary danger from defective products easily. Take the cardboard tube from a toilet paper roll and attempt to pass toy parts through the tube. If they fit, they are a swallowing hazard. PennPIRG reports two types of toys this season that pose risks:

  1. Magnetic toys—Magnet ball sets intended for fun scientific play for older children must be kept out of the hands of smaller children. If a child swallows more than one magnet, the two strong magnets inside a little body can attract each other through the walls of the child’s organs, such as the intestines. This can lead to perforations and ulcers.
  2. Balloons—Children often inhale balloons while trying to inflate them. PennPIRG and Ginsburg & Associates caution parents never to purchase balloons for children eight and younger. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), balloons are the leading cause of children’s suffocation deaths.

Toxic Materials

PennPIRG found chromium, lead, and phthalates in toys. These defective products all pose long-term risks to children:

  1. Chromium—Toys that have unsafe levels of chromium can cause skin irritation, redness, swelling and skin ulcers. Some chromium at high enough levels can cause cancer. Minions pencil cases, Slinky Jr. and some magnetic number toys all had chromium in them.
  2. Phthalates—Phthalates make plastics more flexible and break-resistant. They have been shown to affect reproductive systems in laboratory animals.


  1. High noise levels from toys can lead to children’s hearing loss. This is the fifth hazard related to defective products that parents must contend with while browsing the toy aisles. The Fisher-Price Click n Learn Remote was identified by PennPIRG for being too loud when children hold it close to their ears.

Other toys that could damage small children’s ears include:

      • Vtech Go! Go! Smart Wheels
      • Vtech Go! Go! Smart Animals
      • Vtech Spin & Learn Color Flashlight

When very small children sustain hearing loss, it affects speech development, language acquisition, and social growth. PennPIRG’s shoppers found a total of five toys for children under three that were either at or above the decibel standards for such toys.

Ginsburg & Associates, with attorneys experienced in product liability issues related to defective products, can protect your rights and your children’s rights. If you or a loved one has been injured or exposed to defective products such as children’s toys, Ginsburg & Associates will work hard to safeguard your rights, recover compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, and see that you and your loved one are financially protected from unforeseen future problems as a result of the injury. Contact Ginsburg & Associates today.