With Halloween passing and Thanksgiving on the horizon, the holiday is officially here. And that also means that parents will be shopping for presents for their children.

As the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently reported, Spin Master Inc. agreed on payment of a $1.3 million civil penalty for not reporting the defective and hazardous nature of Aqua Dots. The children’s craft kit stuck together when water contacted it, allowing children to create different shapes.

Defective products come in all shapes and sizes. For children, there are millions of toys available at department stores, specialty toy stores and online. While the first thing people may look for is what the child is interested in, they must also consider the potential risks of the toy.

Our defective product attorneys have seen many children harmed by dangerous products. Like any industry, the toy industry rewards those who get their products out quicker. The more advertisements on television and in weekly fliers, the more profits between now and the new year.

But companies are required to test products to ensure they are safe. And they must report if there are defects that could pose a safety risk to children. In October 2007, Spin Master received reports that children were becoming sick after swallowing Aqua Dots. The company also found out the children who ingested a similar product containing TMG were also getting sick. That product was manufactured oversees.

The next month, the company received reports that children had ingested its product, fallen ill and into comas and required hospitalizations. It took several days before the company and the CPSC recalled about 4.2 million packages of the product. The recall noted that children who swallow the beads can fall into comas, have seizures or develop respiratory problems as a result.

The kits were sold for between $17 and $30 from April to November 2007. Spin Master had an outside testing company analyze the toxicity of the product, but the CPSC found it to be inadequate. Federal law requires companies to report problems within 24 hours after hearing of a defect than can cause injury, potential harm or death.

But companies often will wait longer, taking time to strategize about the best way to handle the situation rather than focusing on the safety and well-being of consumers.

This holiday season, please do a good job of looking at the products you are buying for children in your family. Be sure there isn’t a choke hazard or that the child is old enough to avoid a potential problem. Some companies won’t take the time to warn consumers until it’s too late, so consumers must take on that role themselves. The holidays are the time of year we most often bring new products into the home. Too often, a victim and family blame themselves for injuries caused by defective products. Such cases should always be reviewed by experienced legal counsel.

The Ferraro Law Firm represents people injured by recalled or defective products throughout the country. Call (888) 554-2030 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.