Keeping Our Kids Safe in a Season of Giving


‘Tis the season of giving, and many of us have gifts for small children on our holiday shopping lists. We often bring those same children shopping with us as we rush from store to store, and aisle to aisle within the store. We load up the shopping cart to a point where we can barely see the child in the cart, and leave them unattended while we go to another part of the store. Or, we take our eyes off them for a few seconds. Both parents and children become distracted while shopping. We think of an item we need while we’re in the meat section, and kids see toys and other bright colorful objects out of immediate reach. But, even as we try to watch our kids every second, a number of injuries could occur in an area as common as the neighborhood grocery store.

Let’s take shopping cart injuries, for instance. Shopping cart injuries happen when a baby carrier is improperly balanced on some part of the cart, or when a child bumps off or out of the cart while we maneuver the cart over a speed bump in the parking lot. There’s our curious toddler who likes to climb… out of his seat. And, let’s not even think about the adults who run and do wheelies with the kids in the cart on the way to their vehicles. If your child has been injured in a grocery store, how much liability does the store have in maintaining safe features of the shopping cart, if the cart was a factor? Were you at fault for not using the strap in the seat of the cart? There are many issues to consider, and you’ll eventually want an expert to help you out.

Aside from shopping cart injuries around the holidays, many kids are also injured from toys that are given to them as gifts This proves that it’s a good practice to be aware of recalls in toys and other items for little ones. We see the perfect stuffed character or motorized toy and we think the kids will love it. In most cases they will, and the gift will provide hours of entertainment. We take precautions about purchasing for age-appropriateness and ensure there are no small parts that can be swallowed and cause choking. But, even our best efforts to purchase a toy that won’t cause harm, one mis-step could tempt us to purchase a toy that just doesn’t make the grade when it comes to safety.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 38 toys in 2012. Luckily for us, they provide a 17-page list of toy recalls (from most recent to oldest) that we can review to ensure that the toy we want has been removed from the shelves before purchasing if found to pose a safety hazard, or direct us to how to return it if it shows up on the recall list. For information about recalls, visit their site.

Hazards come in the form of choking on balloons, drownings when motorized toys are driven into pools, and electrocutions. Many incidents result in injuries to the face and head, as guns are pointed, water is squirted, and parts are swallowed. When purchasing toys for our children and grandchildren, keep in mind the following items could pose risks:

  • small parts like buttons or removable pieces
  • scooters and bikes unaccompanied by a helmet
  • inappropriate skateboards for certain ages
  • magnets (hazardous when swallowed) found in some toys

Children are a primary part of our holiday joy. We take them shopping and we spoil them with gifts. But, common sense should be the first rule in ensuring that the kids are safe and our holiday shopping continues on a happy note. No one intentionally means to pose injury to a child from a shopping cart, or provide them with a toy that’s been noted on the recall list. But, accidents do happen and we sometimes forget to take that extra step. Let’s keep our kids safe this holiday season through our actions and through our giving.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.