Did you know that thousands of children are injured from toy-related accidents every year? If gifts for children are on your holiday shopping list, consider toy safety a top priority as you make your purchases this season. According to World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH), there were over 251,000 toy-related injuries in 2014. And, sadly, there were 61 toy-related deaths between 2010-2014.
When purchasing a toy, consumers usually consider whether it is age appropriate or appealing to the child who is receiving it. However, it’s easy to assume that the toy is safe — otherwise, why would a company sell something that is potentially harmful to children? It is very important for parents and adults to realize that not all toys on the market are safe.
From choking hazards to inaccurate warning labels to toxic substances, toys can be very dangerous to children. Besides avoiding the toys on this year’s WATCH List, remember these toy safety tips when purchasing gifts for your favorite children this holiday season.
Safety Tips for Buying Toys
It’s smart to do a little research before making holiday purchases. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides an up-to-date list of product recalls. You can even search the list for a particular toy you are planning to buy, or by manufacturer if you’d like to do a more general search. The CPSC also suggests the following toy safety tips when considering toys for purchase:
- Toys with sharp edges can cause puncture wounds or eye injuries. Avoid for children under 8 years old.
- Cords and strings are unsafe for infants and young children due to strangulation hazards.
- Small parts are choking hazards for children under 3 years old. Even plush toys should be checked for small parts such as eyes or tails that could be pulled off.
- Electric toys should only be gifted to children over 8 years old and used under adult supervision.
- Projectiles, such as those shot by toy guns or traditional dart games, may appear fun for children but may cause eye injuries if used unsafely.
- Loud noises can cause damage to little ears. Toys that make loud pops and bangs should only be used outdoors away from the face and ears, and not by small children.
Always Heed Label Warnings on Toys
Before purchasing a particular toy, check the label for any warnings and age specifications. Besides age restrictions, other safety information such as whether a toy is fire resistant or washable should also be communicated on the label.
Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, as a toy that might seem totally harmless to you may actually be unsafe if used in the wrong circumstances. If a toy does not have age recommendations, be especially vigilant. For example, one of WATCH’s 10 Worst Toys for this year is a large stuffed elephant sold with imprecise labeling. Although it looks harmless, if placed in an infant’s crib the toy could potentially cause asphyxiation and death.
Keep in mind that older children should be taught and reminded to keep their toys out of reach of younger siblings. A toy that is perfectly safe for a ten-year-old could be deadly in the hands of a two-year-old.
Toys to Avoid
The CPSC reported that non-motorized scooters were the toys associated with the most injuries in 2014 for children under age 15. As children often ride scooters where motor vehicles are present, the chance of a serious accident occurring quickly escalates.
Toys containing small magnets are best avoided by families with children under three. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if ingested, magnets can stick together and cause severe internal damage. These injuries can potentially lead to surgeries and other serious complications.
Balloons seem pretty harmless, right? According to the CPSC, more children have suffocated on balloons than any other type of toy. Children can accidentally inhale a small balloon when attempting to blow it up, causing airway blockage. When a balloon pops, the small plastic pieces can be ingested and cause a child to choke. The CPSC recommends children younger than eight years old avoid balloons altogether. Since kids of all ages love balloons and keeping young ones away from them seems like a rather difficult task, make sure children under eight are supervised when playing with them.
Maintaining Toy Safety After the Holidays
While children are opening their holiday gifts, be sure to quickly dispose of any plastic packaging that could be an asphyxiation hazard. Plastic bags and films are the most common culprits. As the fun of gift giving and receiving comes to an end, parents can help ensure that their children’s toys remain safe to play with by following these toy safety tips:
- Check toys every so often for wear and tear that could cause injury.
- Throw away any broken toys or toy parts with sharp edges.
- Check outdoor toys for any regular maintenance that may be needed on rusty or broken parts.
- Have children put their toys away on shelves or in boxes to prevent tripping and falling.
- Check that the toy chest has a lid that won’t collapse on a small child, and that the chest has ample ventilation in case a child climbs inside.
Donaghue & Labrum Personal Injury Lawyers
Has someone in your family been injured in an accident involving a toy, or any other product? Our experienced team of personal injury attorneys will guide you through the challenges of a tough litigation process. We work tirelessly for our clients. If you want to receive the maximum compensation that you deserve, call our office today to set up a free consultation in Media or West Chester, PA.