The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently published recommendations and guidelines to minimize the risk children’s toy laser products pose to users and others in range of the laser beam.i This shows the federal government has expressed concern over a dangerous product that may present an unreasonable risk to a vulnerable population. It’s amazing that these dangerous ‘toys’ are sold to kids.
According to the FDA, “laser products may be used in unsafe or uncontrolled ways and can cause injury to the user and/or others in range of the laser beam.”ii While most laser pointers contain low powered diode lasers, lasers wielding far more power are available on the market. In fact, in recent years laser pointers have increased approximately tenfold in power, creating an increased need for consumer awareness and parental supervision of children playing with laser toy products.
If misused by consumers or improperly packaged and marketed by manufacturers, these laser toys pose a significant risk of retinal or other injury to the eye. Retinal injuries caused by laser products and toys present a serious problem for consumers because often times these injuries go unnoticed and unreported.iii Damage to the eyes can be permanent. Lasers can also cause injury and/or burns to the skin. Examples of common laser toy products include, but are not limited to:
- Lasers used for aiming on toy guns
- Hand-held laser pointers used for business or academic presentations
- Lasers used during play as “lightsabers”
- Lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open space
General Safety Tips for Laser Toys
- Never point a laser directly at anyone, including animals
- Avoid pointing a laser at moving vehicles or low flying aircraft, as it can cause temporary blindness to the driver or pilot
- Avoid using a laser on reflective surfaces like mirrors
Please contact the attorneys of Swartz & Lynch if you have any questions about a product liability claim.
i “Minimizing Risk for Children’s Toy Laser Products,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, December 19th, 2014.
ii Id. at 2.
iii Id. at 3.