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Parents have yet another problem to add to their ever-growing list of concerns for their children’s safety. Defective toy products – supposedly designed to entertain and educate children – pose an enormous health risk that many parents may not suspect. These poorly-made playthings put innocent and vulnerable children in jeopardy. Two recent announcements illustrate this threat to Michigan children.

A study conducted at Ashland University in Ohio concluded that thirteen out of forty-five common Easter toys have unacceptable levels of lead paint. The dangerous items included various plastic trinkets, tops, and hollow plastic eggs. Although the likelihood of poisoning is relatively low, the harm that might result could be catastrophic to individual victims and their families. Lead poisoning causes a number of serious problems, including impaired mental development, stunted growth, and kidney failure. Compounding the problem is the fact that most lead poisoning cases develop over long periods of time, often meaning that the symptoms are missed or attributed to some other cause.

A more immediate threat to Michigan children is posed by the 2.4 million recalled magnetic toys distributed by MEGA Brands America, Inc. The small magnets may become dislodged from the toys (which were manufactured in China) and pose a choking hazard to small children. Over the past two years, there have been forty-four reported incidents of this occurring. One incident involved a three-year-old boy who required medical intervention to remove a magnet from his nasal cavity. The defective products have been on store shelves since January 2005.

Toys should be a source of fun, entertainment, and development for young and vulnerable children. Manufacturers who create and distribute defective products put these children at risk. Michigan parents should arm themselves with information by visiting the Consumer Product Safety Commission website. If you suspect that a product is defective, report it immediately to help ensure the safety of your loved ones.

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