How do you know that the toy you just picked up off the shelf as a Christmas present is really safe for children? Most retailers pull any items that are recalled or deemed dangerous for kids, but that doesn’t mean that mistakes can’t happen.
This is NOT a recalled toy.
A few minutes of online research can help you pick safe toys this Christmas. ToySafety.org puts out an annual list of the Top 10 Worst Toys. 2011’s list has been updated. While on their site, read over the list of Toy Hazards.
You can also view recalled toy information online. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps an updated list of recalled toys online. (HINT: There isn’t a search function on the page, but using the Alt-F shortcut in Internet Explorer allows you to search any webpage’s text.) To stay up to date on recalls, sign up for CPSC’s email list.
A few quick tips for Toy Safety:
- Choose toys that are age appropriate. Each box should display a suggested age range.
- If the child you are buying for still puts things into their mouth, steer clear of toys with small parts. These small parts can create chocking hazards.
- Toys with magnets can be very dangerous if swallowed. Those small magnets can bind together while passing through the digestive system and cause major issues that may require surgery.
- Don’t purchase items with strings or cords that could wrap around children’s necks.
- Be careful with “costume jewelry” or painted toys. The paint may contain lead which could lead to poisoning and is irreversible.
- Purchase any needed safety equipment at the time you purchase the toy. For example, purchase a helmet and pads at the same time you purchase a bicycle. It only takes one second to fall and hurt themselves.
Last year, an estimated 140,700 children were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms after toy-related incidents and 13 children died. It only takes a few extra minutes to make sure your purchase is a good one.