The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) screened fewer toys compared to years past due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year, the agency cautions consumers regarding a variety of risks in their homes. One of its responsibilities is to inspect toys for potential hazards, including toxic lead levels or small objects that could cause infants and toddlers to choke.
The CPSC performed fewer inspections than usual in 2020. A recent USA Today investigation revealed that the agency withdrew inspectors from its ports across the U.S. due to the COVID-19 threat, causing a slump in safety screenings.
A Major Lapse in Safety Inspections
Before the pandemic, the agency was performing inspections at ports throughout the country. In February 2020, it performed 3,401 safety inspections for consumer products. That number fell to just 47 in August 2020. That is an extraordinary lapse, which becomes even clearer when inspection numbers from 2019 are put into consideration. In 2019, the agency performed an average of 3,251 safety inspections each month.
The CPSC also inspects things such as wardrobes and dressers that can topple over and fall on young children, which may cause fatalities or moderate childhood injuries. Such injuries can result in health problems in adulthood.
The number of reported violations has also drastically dropped. There was an average of 40 reported lead violations per month in 2019, which somewhat reflects the 33 violations recorded in February 2020. That number, however, dropped to zero reported infractions in June 2020.
Getting Started with a Personal Liability Case
Businesses have a duty to report dangerous products to the CPSC. When they fail to do so, they deliberately put the health and safety of consumers at risk. When a business contravenes its duty of care to customers, a victim can file a product liability case to seek compensation for the injuries sustained or wrongful death.
A product liability case focuses on proving that there was a manufacturing error, design defect, or that the toy business violated its duty of care to consumers by not warning them about possible dangers. It is, therefore, important for families to work closely with an attorney on their case.
Before compensating a victim, manufacturers and toy businesses examine whether the toy was altered or misused. Evidence of disassembling a toy or misusing it would bring a product liability case to a halt. If a child has been injured while using a toy correctly, families can follow these three steps to hold companies liable.
- Notifying the CPSC about the product.
- Consulting an attorney to determine if the toy manufacturer could be liable for the injury.
- Keeping the product in a safe and secure place. If the product in question is lost, the case ends.
With a significant drop in safety inspections, parents must be more careful than ever when buying toys for their children. They should buy from reputable toy companies and ensure their children are playing with the toys the right way. Most importantly, if they detect any problems, they should notify the CPSC right away.