Victorian safety officials recently confiscated and destroyed thousands of toys that were deemed too dangerous for public sale just in time to keep them from getting into the hands of children this Christmas.
Toys have long been a source of many product liability injury claims, and over the years manufacturers and distributors have been much more careful to include warnings on toys as well as age limits. But even these measures wouldn't be enough to satisfy safety authorities in Victoria.
Heidi Victoria, Minister for Consumer Affairs, said Consumer Affairs Victoria seized the products because of hazards that included choking, eye injuries and even lead poisoning.
"The toys being destroyed today failed to meet the safety standards that exist for a very good reason – the health and wellbeing of Victorian children," Ms Victoria said.
"It is a priority of Consumer Affairs Victoria to remove any products that put consumers at risk. This should send a clear warning to manufacturers and retailers that unsafe goods will not be tolerated."
Every year, Christmas is a busy time for product inspectors. So far in 2013, extensive investigations into retailers and wholesalers in Victoria have led to the confiscation of more than 26,500 toys.
Mitigating the risks of public liability injury claims
Seizing the toys has become an annual affair for the safety group. Consumer Affairs Victoria says its goal every year is to find as many toys that could lead to injuries and remove them from the market as quickly as possible.
"Toy sales skyrocket at this time of year so it is vital that anyone purchasing toys ensures that products suitable for children’s ages comply with safety standards," Ms Victoria said.
"We will continue to monitor traders for any toys that breach safety standards and pursue individuals and companies who trade in unsafe toys, to ensure that they don’t put Victorian children at risk."
Complying with the state's product safety laws should be a top priority for suppliers. In Victoria, a business that is found to be noncompliant can face fines as high as $220,000 per individual. When the corporation as a whole is brought under the microscope, the fines can grow to $1.1 million.
Those who may have been injured by a product are encouraged to get in touch with public liability injury lawyers to learn what legal options they have.