If you're still taking dozens of Amazon Prime boxes to the recycling bin that recently contained toys you bought for your children or other kids in your life, you need to know that many toys sold through the popular online retailer don't meet federal safety standards.
The biggest culprits are toys made by small third-party sellers whose products can be purchased on Amazon. Many of them don't go through the rigorous tests necessary to ensure that they don't contain choking hazards -- or are properly labeled if they do. Some sellers fail to label their toys with accurate recommended ages.
Toys with magnets are a particular concern because a swallowed magnet can severely harm a child's digestive system. That's why there are restrictions on the strength of magnets included in toys and other products used by children.
Consumers often assume that anything they buy from a well-known online retailer like Amazon has been through the required testing when it hasn't and that Amazon stands behind anything sold on its site. (It doesn't.)
CBS News recently put four toys sold on Amazon by third-party retailers through safety tests, and all failed. Even something as traditional as a toy truck was found to have sharp points if it broke. A magnetic putty contained a magnet stronger than allowed under federal safety standards.
So far, Amazon has largely escaped liability for harm caused by items sold by third-party retailers or defects in these products. However, an appeals court recently ruled in favor of a plaintiff who sued the online behemoth after a dog collar she bought on the site broke, causing her dog's retractable leash to fly into her face. She was blinded in one eye.
That ruling could open the door to more instances of Amazon and other online retailers being held liable for issues with products that can be purchased through their sites. It may well cause Amazon and other e-commerce companies to be more cautious about their third-party sellers and their requirements for any products sold on their sites.
It's important to do a little research when buying products on Amazon, Etsy and other sites. Look at who the seller is, and find out about their safety testing protocol. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to a defective or dangerous product, find out what your legal options are.