As reported by The Washington Post, the number of children ingesting rare-earth magnets — often made into desktop toys — has skyrocketed in the last three years. When ingested, these tiny magnets are capable of shredding a child’s intestines as they are often 10 times stronger than ordinary magnets. As The Post notes, “if multiple rare-earth magnets — each the size of a BB pellet — are swallowed, they can pull together inside the intestines, potentially causing life-threatening holes and blockages that most often require emergency surgery.” [Read more…]
A recent study indicate that babies born near active coal plants display shorter telomeres — sections of DNA that act as caps at the end of chromosomes — resulting in measurably higher health risks. As reported by Environmental Health News, “the study is the first to show toxics from coal burning may spur shorter telomeres in newborns and adds to a massive body of evidence that closing down plants gives babies a greater chance at a healthy life. Shorter telomeres are linked with a host of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, brain decline, aging and premature death.” [Read more…]
Law360 has published an expert analysis piece on the state of privacy litigation under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”), 15 U.S.C. §§ 6501 et seq. The statute imposes strict requirements on commercial websites and online services that collect or maintain the personal information of children under the age of 13. The restrictions also apply to third-party vendors who acquire or otherwise interact with any of that information. Lieff Cabraser has been a forerunner in pursuing litigation on behalf of parents whose children’s data has been improperly acquired, shared, and monetized in a series of lawsuits against companies like Viacom and The Walt Disney Company as well as the creators of some vastly popular children’s games and apps like Subway Surfers. [Read more…]
When parents download a “Designed for Families” gaming app for their children, they assume the game will not only be suitable for their children to play, but that their kids’ personal information will be kept secure. Indeed, federal law requires that child data be stringently protected in all online and internet-connected gaming. Disturbingly, however, new research highlighted in a Washington Post article “We Tested Apps For Children; Half Failed To Protect Their Data” reveals that at least one-half of children’s gaming apps violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by accessing and improperly sharing and monetizing child data in game apps. [Read more…]
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is once again warning toy makers that their products must adhere to children’s privacy rules. In the wake of widespread media reports highlighting privacy dangers in child toys, including the exposure of voice recordings in toy pets and child data leaked from mobile apps and games, there has been increased scrutiny from lawmakers regarding the invasion of children’s privacy. [Read more…]
Major retailer Target is recalling more than half a million Easter toys due to risks that children can eat the toys, which ingestion can cause intestinal obstructions, severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, and can even be life-threatening. A “Fast Track Recall” was issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday for 560,000 water-absorbent Hatch and Grow Easter Eggs, Easter Grow Toys and Hatch Your Own Dino that are sold at Target for a dollar each. [Read more…]
Major toymakers have been accused of permitting third-party vendors, including marketing and advertising companies, to track the online activities of children on their websites. Viacom Inc.; Mattel Inc., Hasbro Inc.; and JumpStart Games Inc. have been charged with violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). These toymakers will pay a combined fine of $835,000 for their wrongdoing. [Read more…]
A study by various pediatric clinics located in New York, Atlanta, and California has discovered that the majority of parents unknowingly provide their children with the wrong dosage of liquid medication. This is occurring in part because despite pediatric medicines including a measuring tool with related instructions, often the units on the label – milliliters, mL, teaspoon, tsp., tablespoon – differ from what’s on the tools themselves. [Read more…]
Swedish retailer Ikea is recalling 29 million chests and dressers in the United States and Canada after the death of six children linked to a severe furniture tip-over hazard when the pieces are not properly secured. All of the children killed were 3 years old or younger. [Read more…]
Tech blogger Troy Hunt has published a scathing piece on Hong Kong-based electronic toy maker VTech for what he calls “allowing itself to be hacked” in November 2015, resulting in the exposure of the personal information of more than 2.8 million children. Though bad now, the damage may well grow far worse as the hackers store this data against the children coming of age over the next few years, at which point their adult status will skyrocket the potential harm as accounts and other financial operations may be made in their names and with their full identity records.
Security issues and flaws relating to Internet-connected children’s toys are on the rise. Last year, more than 6 million children’s names, ages, and genders were disclosed when the leading manufacturer and distributor of digital learning toys, VTech, suffered a simple but devastating hack to its databases. A similar attack on allegedly insecure data stores affected Hello Kitty’s San Rio Town in late 2015 as well. [Read more…]
Swedish home furnishings company IKEA launched a repair program for 27 million furniture chests and dressers in July after two American toddlers died last year when IKEA furniture pieces fell on top of them, known as tip-over accidents.
Laundry pods are colorful and look like enticing toys, candy, or a dessert, deceptively luring unsuspecting children and mentally infirm to put them into their mouths. Biting and swallowing any of the highly concentrated detergent packets, however, can cause serious, life-threatening injuries.