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Avoid Toy-Related Injuries this Holiday Season

There are millions of different toys out there, with hundreds of new ones on the shelves each year. With the holidays just around the corner, now it a good time for parents to be reminded of toy safety.

While toys are supposed to be fun and are an important part of any child’s development, scores of kids are treated in hospital emergency departments for toy-related injuries each year. Choking is a particular risk for kids ages 3 or younger, because they tend to put objects in their mouths.

Manufacturers follow certain guidelines and are closely monitored and regulated. They are required to label toys for specific age groups, but perhaps the most important thing a parent can do is to supervise play.

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for toys:

  •     Toys made of fabric should be labeled as flame resistant or flame retardant.
  •     Stuffed toys should be washable.
  •     Painted toys should be covered with lead-free paint.
  •     Art materials should say nontoxic.

Steer clear of older toys, even hand-me-downs from friends and family. Those toys might have sentimental value and are certainly cost-effective, but they may not meet current safety standards and may be so worn from play that they can break and become hazardous.

And make sure a toy isn’t too loud for your child. The noise of some rattles, squeak toys, and musical or electronic toys can be as loud as a car horn — even louder if a child holds it directly to the ears — and can contribute to hearing damage. Read more here.

If your child has suffered a critical personal injury from a defective toy, contact a Toronto personal injury lawyer with Mazin & Associates, PC for a free consultation.

How Safe are your Cleaning Supplies?

You may recall a story in the news about Tide Pods, the colorful, single-load packets of laundry detergent that were available between 2012 through the end of 2013. During that time, more than 17,000 children under age 6 ate or inhaled the contents or squirted concentrated liquid from a packet into their eyes, according to the New York Times.

It’s reminder that the products we use daily and deem as safe could actually be hazardous and cause serious injury. With spring-cleaning in full force, it’s important to stop and think about the household products you’re using. Could they actually be a danger to you or your family?

Consumer Reports recommends avoiding antibacterial such as dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, which may help promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria. That harsh chemical can be found in several cleaners including Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty All Purpose Cleaner and some types of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

Better choices include Clorox Green Works All-Purpose Cleaner, which did well in Consumer Reports’ tough mess test. Also, consider Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes, a good option for occasional disinfecting, like when someone has a cold or flu.

As for your bathroom, be aware that toilet-bowl cleaners can harbor some of the most dangerous chemicals in your house. Products such as Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner Complete Clean contain hydrochloric acid, which can burn your eyes and skin. For a safer option, select a cleaner without hydrochloric acid, such as Seventh Generation Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, which did well in Consumer Reports’ tests.

Spring-cleaning also means washing windows and making glass sparkle, but be careful with ammonia. It can potentially damage your eyes or lungs. Instead, try a glass cleaner that’s ammonia-free—such as Staples’ Sustainable Earth Glass Cleaner. Another option is to dilute ammonia: Use a half-cup in four cups of water.

Our lawyers have recovered millions for people injured by product defects and manufacturer mistakes. If you or a family member has sustained a serious personal injury or permanent disability, contact our disability insurance claim lawyer today.

How to Avoid Hearing Damage from Audio Devices and Toys

Some consumer products make noise loud enough to damage your hearing, including personal audio devices if played too loudly as well as some toys and tools that make very loud noises. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the more dangerous it is.

Know the facts:

  • An intense sound close to your ear (like from a cap gun or firecracker) can cause immediate and severe hearing loss that may be permanent.
  • Using some consumer products regularly at very loud levels can lead to permanent hearing loss over time.
  • If your personal stereo system is so loud that you cannot hear sounds around you (like traffic), your personal safety may be at risk.
  • If someone standing a meter away from you has to shout to be understood, the sound levels around you are probably more than 85 decibels (dBA). You face a significant risk of permanent hearing loss if you are exposed to these sound levels for eight hours or more a day.
  • If someone standing 30 cm away has to shout to be understood, the levels probably exceed 95 dBA. This means a significant risk of permanent hearing loss if you are exposed for 45 minutes or more a day.
  • If someone has to shout into your ear to be understood, the sound levels around you probably exceed 105 dBA. There is a significant risk of permanent hearing loss if you are exposed for just five minutes a day.

How to protect your hearing:

  • Reduce exposure to noise.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend listening to loud music, or doing leisure activities that are really noisy.
  • Know your noise limit. If someone a meter away from you must shout to be understood, the sound level of the toy, tool or electronic device is probably too loud and may be hazardous.
  • Play music low. Keep your music at enjoyable, but safe levels. Reduce background noise so you can use a lower volume level.
  • Wear ear protection. When you must be around loud noises that may be hazardous, wear a hearing protection device like earplugs or earmuffs. The device should be as well fitted as possible. See an audiologist for help.
  • Plan quiet time. If you experience temporary hearing loss or tinnitus after leisure or work activities, be sure to schedule quiet time to allow your ears to recover fully.
  • Buy quieter toys. If you have to yell to be heard above the sound of a toy, it is likely too loud for a child and should not be used. Look for sound-making toys that have volume-control features or an on/off switch so that sound can be kept low or turned off.
  • If you or a family member has sustained a serious personal injury or permanent disability due to a consumer product, contact us to schedule your free consultation.

Source: Government of Canada.

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Mazin & Associates PC dedicates itself to achieving maximum settlements in serious personal injury and accident cases. Our areas of practice include car accidents, motorcycle injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, slip and falls, wrongful death, product liability, long-term disability and medical malpractice.

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