Many have already begun their Christmas and Holiday shopping, but do be careful when purchasing children’s toys. There are many safety concerns, including choking or strangulation hazards, loudness issues, and some are even toxic. Did you know that an average of 250,000 toy-related injuries each year since 2008 were serious enough to require a visit to the emergency room. Bottom line: parents, family and caregivers must remain vigilant.
To put it bluntly, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) does not test all toys, and not all toys in stores or online meet CPSC standards.
We recommend supervision to help prevent childhood injuries, but while you are shopping for them, stay informed of the latest product recalls and purchase with care. We’ve provided some tips to help with your safe toy selections.
Six Shopping Tips for Safe Toys
- Choking is the leading cause of toy-related deaths. Bigger toys are always safer than smaller toys; particularly for children under 3 or HOUSEHOLDS with children under 3. Make sure you read and heed warning labels. Balloons and balls cause the most threat. Never allow a child under the age of 3 to play with balloons and restrict their playtime with balls to those larger than 1.75 inches in diameter.
- Magnets can look like candy. To a small child, magnets can look like something they may want to eat. However, if a child swallows more than one and the magnets attach inside the body, it can cause life-threatening complications.
- Batteries can be fatal. If a toy has batteries, make sure the cover stays sealed. If swallowed, the battery acid can cause fatal internal injuries.
- Toxic chemicals may still be found in toys. Dangerous levels of lead and other toxic chemicals can still be found in older toys and those not made in the United States. Steer clear of toys made of PVC plastic, soft vinyl lunch boxes and bibs, and children’s costume jewelry – especially jewelry and other toys that can be swallowed.
- If it’s too loud for you, it’s too loud for them. Not only can they be annoying to adults, louder toys also pose threats to young babies, toddlers and children whose ears are extremely sensitive.
- Finally, Parental supervision and awareness are still the best defenses. Follow all labels and stay alert to warning signs. If an older sibling has a toy not suitable for a younger sibling, please be careful. The right toy in the wrong place could be harmful for the younger child. Also, beware of your playtime areas. Dangerous streets, pools and hot items in rooms like kitchens or bathrooms all pose threats.
Here are some references to consult before purchasing this Holiday season.
- Trouble in Toyland’s 2013 Dangerous Toy List (pdf)
- World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) 2013 “10 Worst Toys List“
- Parents Magazine toy recall list for 2013
How to Find the Perfect, Safe Toy for Your Child
The Good Housekeeping Research Institute tested 150 products and named the Best Toy Awards for 2013 based on innovation, safety and skill-building. Also consider the Dr. Toy iPhone app and browse toys by award, skill, type, age or price to find the ideal gift.
Finally, remember, if you are questioning whether or not a toy is safe then it’s probably better to put the item back on the shelf. As the saying goes, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
For more information on how to keep you and your loved ones safe, make sure you are subscribed to our monthly email newsletter. We cover safety, injury, accidents, and other important topics that are important to our readers and clients.
And, if you or a loved one has been impacted by an unsafe toy in or around the Charleston area, or if you think you may have a case associated with a hazardous or unsafe toy or product, please contact our office immediately.
Happy Holidays everyone. Let’s give the gift of safe toys to our children this year!