WATCH OUT For Toy Hazards This Holiday Season

World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) revealed its nominees for the “10 Worst Toys of 2016” and demonstrated the reasons why “Flying Heroes Superman Launcher” and other potentially hazardous toys should not be in the hands of children. Since December 2015, there have been at least nineteen (19) toys with recognized safety defects recalled in the United States. These recalls involved over eight hundred thousand (800,000) units of toys—five hundred thousand this year alone— and prove the inadequacy of existing standards.

W.A.T.C.H. warns shoppers to be aware of the types of toy hazards available online and in retail stores. This year, W.A.T.C.H. highlighted toys with inconsistent and inadequate warnings, cautions and age recommendations as well as other classic safety hazards that continue to reappear year after year. The organization’s website provides up-to-date information about toy recalls and stresses the necessity for more stringent oversight of the toy industry.
For a list of toys representing potential dangers this year, as well as additional safety information, please visit

Best wishes to everyone from Swartz & Swartz, P.C. for a safe and healthy holiday season!

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9-year-old girl dies after being dragged by her school bus!

According to Massachusetts State Police, a 9-year-old girl dies after being dragged by a school bus in Plainfield, MA. The school bus Investigations indicated that the incident happened around 4.p.m when she was dropped off at the stop on South Central Street.
Investigators believe the 9-year old girl was not fully cleared from the bus’s door when they closed, causing her to get caught in the door and dragged as the bus drove away. Northampton Barracks state troopers, Planfield Fired and EMS immediately responded to the scene. In addition, a State Police Collision Analysis, Reconstruction Team and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section as well responded to the accident.
The bus driver is currently being interviewed by the State Police detectives and the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. The 9-year-old girl reported to be a student of the school in the area as well as the children who were in the bus with her. Furthermore, the name of the school or the bus company has not been released and is in further investigation.

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Sexual Assaults and Children – Awareness Is Critical

Reported sexual assaults are tragically becoming more prevalent in today’s society, as teenagers, middle school and even elementary school children are falling victim to these outrageous crimes. Recent research and statistics show that the sexual abuse of children includes a wide-range of behaviors and actions made by the perpetrator, described alternately as either non-contact sexual abuse or contact sexual abuse.

A 2012 report shows that 1.8 million adolescents have been victims of sexual assault. Records shows that 35.8% of child and adolescent victims are between the ages of 12-17, 26% between the ages of 12-14 and 34% of child victims are under the age of 9 years old. Further, statistics indicate that females account for 82% of juvenile sexual assault victims and females between the ages of 16-19 years old are 3.5 times more likely than the average person to be victims of sexual assault, along with rape or attempted rape.

Children and teens of sexual abuse do not all display the same symptoms and reactions to sexual abuse. 40% of children are asymptomatic, while many other children experience long term effects. There is a wide-range of physical signs and behaviors expressed by children, including changes in their behavior that may be important indicators to pay attention to.

On September 19, 2014, the New York Times published an article written by Charles M. Blow in which he explains that he was a victim of sexual abuse when he was just 7 years old. This first-hand account demonstrates the consequences an individual faces after becoming a victim of sexual abuse. On September 1, 2015, The New York Times published another article written by Charles M. Blow, continuing on this issue touching on recent examples of child sexual abuse that had arose with the TLC Reality Show “19 Kids and Counting” and the former speaker of the House of Representatives, J. Dennis Hastert.

On July 24, 2016, The Boston Globe printed a story regarding private schools and sexual abuse claims in which the cases had collectively over 300 alleged victims. More recently, there have been more accounts of sexual abuse that have been told. On September 1, 2016 The Boston Globe reported the abuse that was uncovered occurring at an elite Rhode Island prep school by 61 alumnae. 51 alumnae stated that they were victims of sexual abuse by faculty and staff, while 10 alumnae stated that they fell victim to abuse by other students.

Sadly, child sexual abuse can arise in many different settings, resulting in different signs and symptoms. It is critically important to be educated about the prevalence of such crimes, as well as how best to protect our children, among the most vulnerable in our society. Swartz & Swartz, P.C. has been a leader in advising and representing families who have suffered as a result of such inexcusable acts. If you want more information about child or adolescent sexual abuse, please contact Swartz & Swartz, P.C. by email at, or call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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Questions Arise Within Braintree MA Police Department Regarding Missing Evidence

On September 14, 2016 the Boston Globe reported an emerging scandal involving the Braintree Police Department. An audit commissioned by the police chief revealed missing drugs, guns and money from the evidence room. As a result, numerous cases which resulted in convictions will be reviewed by the district attorney’s office and a number of pending criminal complaints were dismissed because of the tainted evidence. Therefore, a number of dangerous criminals may be set free.

Were you a victim related to any of these convictions or pending prosecutions? If so, your rights may have been violated. If you or a family member has questions, please contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. by email at, or call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732.

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Ikea MALM Drawers Recalled

On June 28, 2016, Ikea announced that it is recalling several models of its MALM drawers due to a tipping hazard that has caused the deaths of three children since 2014, as well as 19 reported incidents of injuries to children. The most recent incident occurred in February 2016, when a 22-month-old boy in Minnesota died from a MALM chest falling on top of him. This recall follows an announcement made in July 2015 in which Ikea warned of this potential hazard from these same models of MALM chests. At the time, Ikea offered consumers of this product free wall-anchoring kits which, if properly installed, would prevent the drawers from tipping over and causing injuries.

If these chests are not properly anchored to a wall, they become unstable and pose a serious danger. The drawers are made of light particleboard or fiberboard which may make the base of the drawers unstable and possibly be the cause of this tip hazard if the drawers’ contents make them top-heavy.

Parents and caregivers should also be aware of this hazard generally regarding other household furniture items, especially those filled with weighty items, and those which serve as a stand for larger items, such as televisions. In fact, recent statistics indicate that a major cause of personal injuries to children are tip-overs involving heavy furniture or televisions. Every year 23,000 children (under the age of 9) are rushed to emergency room for injuries sustained from unanchored products.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has urged parents of young children to anchor and stabilize their televisions, furniture, and appliances to prevent tip-over related incidents. In a quest to reach a toy, TV or game remote, or other desired item, young children may use dressers and tables as climbing devices, often leading to tragic results. Manufacturers of such items have long been aware of these dangers, and are required to anticipate the environment of end use, to help prevent these injuries.

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W.A.T.C.H. Out! 2016 Summer Safety for Children

On June 28th, the consumer advocacy group W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc.) presented its 2016 Summer Safety Report at its annual “Safe Fun in the Sun” conference at Franciscan Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.

The conference addressed “Summer Safety Traps” of common outdoor activities and highlighted some of the many different types of hazards of which parents and caregivers should be aware in order to prevent potentially life-threatening injuries to children this summer. One of the primary goals of this conference was to increase awareness about hazards associated with some summer recreational activities and products so that these incidences become less frequent. There are especially high rates of child injuries during the summer in particular, when almost half of all injury-related deaths in children occur, according to W.A.T.C.H.

Some of the summer activities that were discussed at the conference included swimming and drowning hazards, toys made for outdoor play like remote helicopters and other flying objects, realistic-looking toy guns, projectile toys, and “hoverboards”, the motorized two-wheeled scooters that have gained particular popularity over the past year.

If you have questions about children’s toys or products, please contact an attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C.

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Nader’s Tort Museum and Swartz & Swartz Founder’s Efforts Featured

A recent article in Connecticut’s Journal Enquirer highlights the important exhibits at Ralph Nader’s Tort Law Museum, including a feature dedicated to the efforts of Swartz & Swartz founder, the late Edward M. Swartz, and the legacy carried on by the non-profit group, World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH). Swartz started a crusade against toy hazards, and the life-altering injuries suffered by children, when he testified before The National Commission on Product Safety in 1968.

The hallway devoted to harmful toys, described by the author as “an absolute highlight”, contains examples of explosives and other dangerous items manufactured and sold as playthings for minors. Among the “toys” displayed are “Jarts”, lawn darts which were banned in 1988 after more than 6,000 people were injured or killed, some with severe brain injuries.

The tireless work of Nader, Swartz and others to enhance safety through consumer advocacy and the civil justice system, provide shining examples of how individuals truly can make a difference.

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Medical Research Links Proton Pump Inhibitors with Kidney Disease

A correlation between the use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and kidney disease has been suggested in recent studies released by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). PPIs are medications which work to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, which helps to treat chronic heartburn, acid reflux, esophageal inflammation, and stomach ulcers. PPIs are found in most common heartburn and acid reflux medications like Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec.

These studies found that taking PPIs may lead to a higher risk for kidney-related diseases including chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). While this alleged heightened degree of risk is still being evaluated, the studies show a significantly higher degree of risk for kidney disease in those who used PPI’s for an extended period of time compared with those who only used PPIs for 30 days or less. There was also an increased risk for those taking two doses of PPIs per day versus just one dose per day.

In the past, PPIs have also been suspected of leading to acute kidney inflammation and magnesium deficiencies. The vitamin deficiencies are thought to be due to the impact the drug has on the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients into the body. These other alleged side effects of PPIs have led scholars to try and determine if either or both are the reasons for the increased risk of kidney disease.

Once a person has CKD, there is a gradual progression to kidney failure if it is not properly treated. If kidney failure is left untreated by dialysis or a transplant, toxins and fluids begin to build up in the body, leading to a number of serious consequences including a likelihood of hypertension, heart disease and premature death.

The authors of the JAMA study note that the next step in determining whether this possible link is in fact causal would be to look at whether limiting PPI usage reduces the risk for CKD.

Swartz & Swartz, P.C. is committed to the persistent and unrelenting pursuit of drug manufacturers who cause serious injury or death to unsuspecting consumers. If you or a family member has questions about a dangerous drug, contact the law office of Swartz & Swartz, P.C. by email at, or call (617) 742-1900 in the Boston area, or toll-free at 1-800-545-3732 in greater Massachusetts, New England, or other states across the U.S.

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Parents and Families Beware – 11-Year-Old Girl Dies after Choking Tragedy

SOMERSET, Mass. (AP) — A young girl who choked on a marshmallow at a birthday party has died. News reports identified an 11-year-old who died at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence last Friday morning. The Somerset, Massachusetts girl had been there since she was found unconscious at a friend’s birthday party one week prior.

The girl’s mother has said that about an hour after she dropped her daughter off, she got a call from the hosts saying she had “passed out”. Apparently, no one realized she was choking when she was found passed out on the floor. When rescuers arrived, they found a marshmallow lodged in the girl’s throat.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued numerous recalls over many years relating to small parts on defective toys. The CPSC as well as watchdog groups like World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH) have long sounded the alarm about choking hazards associated with balloons, small magnets, and, as this recent tragedy illustrates, even certain foods. Parents and caregivers with small children – please recognize the potential for such hazards, and be educated about how such hazards present themselves, as well as the significant risks involved. There is, of course, no excuse for the design, marketing and sale of defective toys, but ingestion risks abound even for items that at first glance seem safe.

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Moogy Plush Toys Recalled

On April 15, 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a recall of Moogy Plush toys. The importer and distributor, Miniland Educational Corp., of Miami, FL., sold approximately 2,000 of the Moogy Plush toy from July 2015 to February 2016 in the United States. Moogy Plush toys were designed for toddlers between 12 and 36 months of age.

The Moogy Plush toy is about 18.5 inches tall, has a blue and green face, red ears, a blue jacket with a red zipper, pink/red striped pants and pink and orange shoes with polka dots. However, the red button on the left pocket can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

Many consumers shop under the false pretense that toys bought from big-name manufacturers and retailers are not dangerous. Dangerous toys are still available for sale far too often. In fact, seeing a familiar name on a package can lead to a false sense of security that the toy enclosed is safe. Small parts on toys have been a perpetual, often deadly, and shockingly overlooked hazard. Over the years, many toys have been recalled because of easily detachable small parts, or affixed small parts that can be mouthed and occlude a child’s airway. Many toys on store shelves may not violate industry or regulatory standards but are nevertheless clearly dangerous, given the inadequacy of existing standards. For instance, toys with soft parts that can detach and become lodged in a child’s throat are often not considered “small parts” by the industry. Young oral age children are at risk when they break off pieces of shoddily made or inadequately designed toys. These hidden hazards have led to many incidents of deaths and brain damage, yet can still be found in newly designed toys.

The bottom line for parents and caregivers – please inspect all toys carefully before making your purchases. Understand the potential hazards, which may be lurking despite existing government standards.

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