The American Association For Justice published a news article recently entitled,“Playing With Safety..Dangerous Toys and The Role of the American Civil Justice System”. The article states that since 1974 the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued more than 800 recalls for toy products, many for hazards like magnets, lead and other dangers hidden in children’s toys. Between 2004 and 2008, toy related injuries increased 12% and over the last ten years, toy related injuries increased 54%. That is a startling statistic.

Equally alarming, is the fact that the CPSC is vastly understaffed to cope with the new toy products that come out every year. For instance until 2007, CPSC had only 15 inspectors to monitor all ports in the United States for all products and only one employee to conduct tests for toys.

Lastly, a public citizen’s analysis of consumer recalls found that companies who make toys waited an average of almost three years to inform CPSC of defects, and then the agency waited another 209 days before informing the public. In plain English, that’s over a three year wait time from when the company’s toy went on the market until the public was informed that there was a danger to a child.

OK, what does that all have to do with your right to a jury trial and lawsuits? Simply put, the fastest way to make sure that companies that make, manufacture, and market toys, do so safely, is the threat of a lawsuit against them if they make an unsafe dangerous toy.

Given the above couple of paragraphs, can anyone truly say that companies are going to put the greater good above making a profit from these toys? Some of the toys have obvious dangers where a parent could see it by just visually looking at the toy. However, others have hidden dangers that parents would not be able to detect. Specifically, things like lead and other hidden byproducts of the toys can cause irreparable harm to our children and we do not even know about it.

The only real way to stop this, that I can see, is the threat of lawsuits. I agree that some lawyers in general have a negative reputation in society for filing frivolous lawsuits and lawsuits that are designed to make a fast buck off of someone’s misfortunate. However, lawyers and lawsuits can do real good to change corporate policies and make products and toys safe for families and children.

Nothing gets the attention of big toy manufacturing companies more than getting hit with a huge jury verdict for producing an unsafe toy for the public’s consumption.

What do you think about this? Do you think that lawyers are only out to make a dollar? Or can you see lawsuits having a positive benefit to consumers by keeping companies in check from putting toys and products in the marketplace that can hurt children? Please share your opinion on this issue…