What a wonderful, joyful time of year it is for all, especially if you have young children who are anxious for Santa to visit. It’s not often we hear of toys actually harming children, but in fact, they do. Every year there are numerous injuries, and even fatalities, caused by dangerous toys.
A child should never experience anything like this from merely playing with a toy. As caregivers of young children, we need to make sure that we are buying toys that are completely safe for them. We need to watch out for choking hazards and, believe it or not, toys that can be toxic.
All toys in the United States are regulated by the same set of standards, regardless of where they are manufactured. In 2008, efforts by The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) were stepped up after receiving pressure from consumers and advocates regarding dangerous toys. Despite this, 13 kids were killed last year and 196,000 were injured while playing with dangerous toys.
On November 26th, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report found that, despite recent progress, consumers must still be on alert for toys out there that have toxic chemicals, including lead and cadmium, that can have negative effects on children’s development and health. They also found small toys that pose a choking hazard, are too loud and can threaten hearing, and toy magnets that can cause serious injury if swallowed. The full report for 2013 can be downloaded here.
Here are six very important tips to help you be aware of what to avoid when it comes to toys:
1) Choking is the number one hazard and leading cause of death caused by toys.
The bigger a toy is, the safer it is, especially for children that will put things in their mouths. Toys for ages 3 to 6 must have on the label a choking warning on them. Do not give small children toys with small parts that can be swallowed.
2) High powered magnets are in the process of being banned because they are so dangerous.
Small, powerful magnets are a huge danger. If children swallow more than one, they can connect together inside of their stomachs and cause big problems.
3) Batteries, if ingested, can be fatal.
Small, button-like batteries can be easily swallowed. If they are, the battery acid can leak out of them and cause death.
4) There are still toys available on shelves that contain toxic chemicals.
Toys made in America, as well as those that come in from other parts of the country still contain dangerous levels of lead. Steer clear of toys made of PVC plastic, soft vinyl lunch boxes and bibs, and children’s costume jewelry.
5) If it’s too loud for you, it’s too loud for them.
Watch the volume on toys. If it seems too loud for you, then it is probably too loud for them. Remove the batteries, tape up the speakers to muffle the noise, or better yet, get rid of the toy.
6) Supervising small children is always the best safeguard from the dangers of toys.
Watch small children carefully. Do not allow them in bathrooms or kitchens alone. Make sure they don’t get into older siblings things and choke on them. They are busy little people, so make sure you watch them closely!
By supervising children carefully and buying safe toys, you can ensure your loved ones remain safe through the holiday, and throughout the year. Happy holidays from Van Wey Law!