With the holidays just about upon us, many children are understandably excited about the prospect of receiving lots of toys. Unfortunately, many toys can be dangerous, and toy-related deaths and injuries continue to be a problem each year. (In 2007, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [CPSC] received reports of 18 toy-related deaths and estimated there were over 170,000 toy-related injuries to children under age 15 that required a trip to the emergency room.)
Our firm would like to urge parents and gift buyers to be extra careful when purchasing toys, making sure that your selections are as safe as possible and age-appropriate.
The CPSC, which issues annual holiday safety messages and alerts, has listed the top 5 toy hazards:
- Scooters and other Riding Toys – Riding toys, skateboards and in-line skates go fast, and falls could be deadly. Helmets and safety gear should be worn at all times and be sized to fit.
- Small Balls and other Toys with Small Parts – For children younger than age three, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
- Balloons – Children under eight years can choke or suffocate on un-inflated or broken balloons. Keep un-inflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once.
- Magnets – For children under age six, avoid building or play sets with small magnets. If magnets or pieces with magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.
- Chargers and Adapters – Charging batteries should be supervised by adults. Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to children.
- Once children have opened up their toys, the CPSC recommends that parents:
- Immediately discard plastic wrappings on toys before they become dangerous play things.
- Keep toys appropriate for older children away from younger siblings.
- Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers. Some chargers lack any device to prevent overcharging.
With the increased popularity of second-hand stores and online auctions, gift-givers are also urged to be vigilant in avoiding purchasing toys that may have been recalled, banned or that don’t meet current safety standards.