Following the death of 2 young boys, one in Chicago and one in Milwaukee, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 1.8 million toy dart gun sets. The manufacturer of the dart gun is Henry Gordy International; the toy has been sold at Family Dollar stores nationwide since 2005. The boys died of asphyxiation when dart tips became lodged in their throats. The small suction cup at one end measures a half inch in diameter which is the “perfect fit” for blocking off the airways.
We all know that kids should not put toys in their mouths, yet we also know that toddlers have been doing this forever. Parents know this; manufacturers know this. Both must exercise diligence. In the face of obvious danger, toys should be made to avoid the choke hazard; it is the leading cause of toy-related deaths in children under 15.
Family Dollar Store has not sold the toy in over a year; the company agreed to the recall as a way to alert customers. Henry Gordy refused to recall the dart set maintaining that the toy met federal safety rules. Ironically, Henry Gordy has not been reached for comment; the company phone number has been disconnected.
The Milwaukee child died in November 2006. His parents have settled a lawsuit against Henry Gordy. The lawsuit filed by the parents of the Chicago youth is still pending. If the company took the appropriate action in 2006, the Chicago boy would be alive today. What number of dead children is enough for Gordy to admit the danger of this dart set? Is “meeting federal safety rules” enough in the face of known dangers? The company has been involved in two other recalls in the past three years – a magnetic dart board in 2008 because parts posed a choking hazard, and a space man action figure because of high levels of lead in the paint.
CPSC could file its own lawsuit against the company for this latest product recall.
These and similar darts have been on sale for years. Parents are advised to check their kid’s toys; retailers are advised to check inventories and remove any dart guns that appear too short or have suctions that appear too small. Lawsuit Financial urges parents to check all toys carefully; throw away toys with broken pieces or small parts as these pose potential choke hazards. When in doubt – throw away. It is a much safer option.
To reduce this danger in the future, safety standards have been amended requiring longer darts. Parents are advised to throw away the $1.50 toy or return it to a Family Dollar store for a full refund. For additional information, contact Family Dollar at 800-547-0359 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the company’s website at www.familydollar.com.
Toys are the treasures of childhood, but there are still hidden dangers lurking in many toys and children’s products. The CPSC needs to establish better safety standards for toys especially as we approach summer. But, parents need to take extra precautions. Make sure the toy is suitable for your child’s development level. The toy should be bigger than the child’s mouth and not so heavy as to be potentially dangerous. If a toy is used, check its condition; this is important with “hand-me-down” toys or toys purchased at garage sales.
The threat of lawsuits were the pro-safety incentive to recall these toys. Certainly, safety conscious corporations and the CPSC will institute recalls without lawsuits providing them the incentive to do so, but this is uncommon. Lawsuit Financial, the pro-justice lawsuit funding company reminds you that the single most important safety device a single citizen has against corporate America is the threat of a lawsuit. In court, in the eyes of the law, we are all equal and no corporation has more power than you in that forum. Tort reformers want to take this precious right from you with phony cries of “frivolous” and “lawsuit abuse”. Lawsuits are the great equalizer in this country. Fight back; don’t let them get away with this attack on our justice system.