Edward M. Swartz was an internationally known and respected trial attorney and consumer advocate. Mr. Swartz founded the law practice that remains headquartered in the historic John and Ebenezer Hancock House on the Freedom Trail in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Swartz received his legal education from Boston University School of Law where he graduated, first in his class, magna cum laude, continuing his education as a W.C. Cook Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School. Mr. Swartz was a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, the Massachusetts Bar and many other associations. He also was an adjunct professor at Boston University’s School of Law. As a prime mover in products liability law, Mr. Swartz achieved numerous record-setting settlements and jury verdicts throughout the country. His life’s work has resulted in the banning or redesigning of literally thousands of unsafe products.
Edward Swartz, a dedicated consumer advocate, was introduced to the frightening world of dangerous toys in the course of his work as a lawyer. In his investigations of the toy industry on behalf of Congress and clients, he became painfully conscious of the risks to children when their playthings unreasonably expose them to grave physical and psychological harm. Their toy boxes are secret havens for death traps. For over thirty years, Edward M. Swartz had occasion to look into the network of common and statutory law that purports to protect children from unsuitable and dangerous toys and other youth-targeted products. The law can provide some degree of redress to the injured once an accident has occurred, but this is not a sufficient remedy. Even one injury to a single child is too many — especially if it could have been prevented. Edward M. Swartz found a labyrinth of federal and state agencies with cross-purposes and responsibilities, countless loopholes in the laws designed to protect children, and a morass of technical obstacles to overcome when trying to prevent and keep dangerous children’s products from surfacing in communities.
Mr. Swartz, the author of numerous law books and articles, authored two books on toy safety, Toys That Kill (Vintage Books/Random House 1986), and Toys That Don’t Care, (Gambit Inc./Houghton Mifflin 1971). Due in large part to the measure of attention the media has given his work and the excellent response to and acceptance of his books, he was able to force the industry to redesign and, in some cases, eliminate many offending toys. While this was gratifying, he knew more must be done to educate the next generation of consumers about these perils. As he stated in Toys That Kill, “Children must be educated about the dangers that can exist for themselves, their friends, and relatives, brothers and sisters. They must learn to be concerned citizens and crusaders against things that are harmful to themselves and over which they can exert some control.”
For years, Mr. Swartz issued an annual “10 Worst Toys” list to alert parents and other consumers to the dangers in unsafe toys. He founded World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (W.A.T.C.H.) a non-profit organization dedicated to children’s causes and committed to the creation of multidimensional education programs, including “TOYS, YOU and the REAL WORLD,” a bilingual educational curriculum. With the help of W.A.T.C.H.’s programs, parents and children continue to gain the knowledge with which to make their own informed decisions about toys and other children’s products already in use in their homes and elsewhere.
Edward Swartz, as a crusader for safety, was heard by millions of Americans through his appearances on such national programs as: The Today Show, 60 Minutes, America’s Talking, Inside Edition, Good Morning America, NightWatch, The Larry King Show, CNN News, Dateline, and many network news programs. Edward M. Swartz has been profiled in many publications, including Forbes Magazine, Town and Country, and Boston Magazine, who named him a celebrated member of the “The Bar’s Top Shelf”. The Henry Ford Museum has dedicated a section of its permanent exhibit, “Made in America” to Attorney Edward M. Swartz’s work on protecting our children. Among his many awards received throughout the years, and because of his work and concern about eye safety, Ed Swartz was presented the People of Vision award by the National Society to Prevent Blindness.