The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) helps keep American consumers safe from hazardous products. One major focus of the agency’s efforts is preventing unsafe toys from getting into the hands of American children.

In the first quarter of the 2012 fiscal year, the CPSC prevented 500,000 hazardous imported products from entering the United States. Children’s toys and other products topped the list of blocked goods, many with unsafe levels of lead. Other factors that contributed to the CPSC’s stopping of imported toys are parts that pose a choking hazard and traces of banned phthalates, or chemicals that allow for more elasticity in plastics.

How the CPSC Protects Consumers

The CPSC is charged with protecting the public from injury or death from hazardous consumer products. These products may present electrical, mechanical, chemical, or even fire dangers. The CPSC evaluates toys under the guidelines of ASTM standard F963-11, which lays out safety requirements for toys meant for children less than 14 years of age for which hazards may not be obvious.

In addition to these measures, the CPSC maintains the consumer product recall website, where important toy and other child product safety recalls are listed. The agency lists toys by category, and parents can search the database for possible recalls.

Toy Liability

Despite the CPSC’s best efforts, some unsafe toys still make it into the market. When this occurs, toy manufacturers may be held liable for injuries or deaths caused by product defects. Parents and families may sue manufacturers for design flaws that contributed to the injury or death, manufacturing mistakes, defects caused by handling during transportation, and even inadequate safety warnings for the product.

If you believe that a toy defect may be to blame for your child’s injury or death, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you understand how you can hold the toy’s manufacturer responsible.