Most Toys are Safe, but are they Appropriate?
Back in the day, lawn darts were the height of toy fashion. Now, parents gasp at the idea of giving their children a flying projectile with a sharp metal point. Safety has become paramount to both toy manufacturers and lawmakers.
A report released by the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated there were more than 193,000 toy-related injuries to children younger than 15 years of age in 2011. Of those, approximately 44 percent were categorized as cuts, bruises, or scrapes of some kind. The head and face area are most commonly involved in toy-related injuries.
If your shopping list includes the names of a few good boys or girls, Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers the following advice to ensure that the toys you give are safe:
Find out which toys have been recalled - Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website at www.recalls.gov. If the toy or product has been recalled, check the guidelines for what to do next.
Make sure the toy is age-appropriate - Toy safety isn't only about avoiding recalled products; you also need to make sure you’re buying appropriate toys for the age of the child. The age recommendation will be listed on the package or toy.
Be cautious with older toys or hand-me-downs - While buying a gently used toy might be cost effective, they may not meet current safety standards and could be too worn from play that they break and become hazardous.
Be careful when shopping online - Internet toy vendors may not be as vigilant as brick and mortar stores about pulling recalled products off the shelf or flagging bar codes.
Besides knowing how to purchase toys that are safe, it’s important to be aware of safety hazards once they are unwrapped. After toys are opened, CPSC recommends you:
- Immediately discard plastic wrapping or other toy packaging before they become dangerous playthings.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Supervise all battery charging. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children. Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.
You will find more holiday tips and alerts in the “For Consumers” section of www.ct.bbb.org.
Toy Recall Hotlines:
Consumer Products Safety Commission: 800-638-2772
Toy Industry Association: 888-888-4TOYS (4869)
-Submitted by Howard Schwartz Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau