Questions And Answers About Holiday Safety From Michael T. Gibson, P.A.

This page highlights the answers to the questions we hear the most about holiday safety. If you have additional questions please call our office today at 407-490-1271.

What injuries can result when a child uses a defective or damaged toy?

  • Choking
  • Suffocation
  • Serious cuts and abrasions
  • Burns
  • Toxic chemicals

Who can be held liable if a child is injured as a result of a defective or damaged children’s toy?

The manufacturer, distributor and even the supplier can be held liable if a child is injured as a result of a defective toy or product.

What are some common ways toys can become defective?

There are a variety of ways toys can become defective and cause a risk for children. Toys can be manufactured with a flaw or they can be damaged during the process of distribution. Toys can also be stored and cared for improperly by the supplier. Manufactures can also be held liable if they fail to provide proper warning labels or if the toy’s intended use was misrepresented.

What rights do I have if my child has been injured as a result of a defective toy?

You have the legal right to obtain financial compensation if your child has been injured as a result of a defective toy. Many times the injuries that result involve costly medical bills and require parents to take time off at work to care for their child. You can also be entitled to other damages, including emotional distress, for having to watch your child suffer.

What are some safety tips to remember when purchasing a tree this Christmas?

  • If purchasing an artificial tree, look for a label that reads, “Fire Resistant.”
  • If purchasing a live tree, freshness is key. The tree should be green and the needles should be hard to pull from the branches when bent between your fingers. The needles should not easily break off. When tapped on the ground the tree should not lose many needles and its trunk should be sticky with resin.
  • When setting up the tree in your home, keep it away from fireplaces and radiators (which can cause it to dry out quickly) and keep the tree stand full of water. Make sure the tree is out of the path of traffic and not blocking any doorways.

What are some safety tips to remember when decorating this holiday season?

  • When decorating your tree, choose tinsel and plastic decorations, and metals that do not contain lead. Decorations that contain lead can be extremely hazardous if ingested by children.
  • Never use lighted candles on the tree. Always use non-flammable holders and place candles out of reach from children and pets.
  • If you have small children, avoid putting up decorations that are sharp or breakable. Avoid decorations that resemble candy or food, which can be tempting to children.
  • When hanging lights and decorations, make sure your ladder is secure. Injuries from falls were the most common type of accidents, accounting for 34 percent of holiday-related decorating injuries and subsequent ER visits.
  • Only use lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized safety lab and indicate conformance with safety standards.
  • Examine each strand of lights for any broken or cracked sockets and frayed wires. Discard damaged strands of lights.
  • Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
  • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. If the tree is charged with electricity this can result in electrocution or fire.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls and other supports to protect from wind damage. Always use insulated staples, not nails or tacks to hold strands in place. Your best option is to run the strings of lights through hooks, which you can find at a hardware store.
  • Always turn off lights when leaving the house or going to bed. Lights that are left on could short out and cause a fire.
  • For added electric-shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold and can be installed permanently to household circuits by an electrician.

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Copyright © Michael T. Gibson, P.A. 2019