December is Safe Toys and Gift Awareness Month! Here are some tips on avoiding unsafe toys:
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were an estimated 256,700 toy-related injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments in 2013. Most were children under age 12 and most of the reasons for the visits were lacerations, contusions, abrasions, and choking. Follow these tips to avoid purchasing unsafe toys this holiday season:
- Stick to age-appropriate toys: Most new toys are labelled for specific age groups on the packaging. Age levels for toys are determined solely by safety factors.
- Consider the entire household: An age-appropriate toy is no substitute for adult supervision. Are younger children also living in the household? Are the children well-supervised there?
- Trust your judgment: Consider a child’s habits and behavior. If you remotely think that a toy may be unsafe, put it back and select another toy.
- Purchase from reputable retailers: Toys imported to or made in the U.S.A. must comply with The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) standards. Check online for product recalls and purchase from well-known, established retailers.
- Be product savvy: Study the toy carefully. Check for these features before purchasing:
- Flame-resistant or flame-retardant
- Non-removable parts
- Lead-free paint
- Strings less than 7” long
- UL Labeled (electric toys that meet safety standards by Underwriters Laboratories)
- Not a choking hazard
- No parts that can pinch small fingers
- No small parts, sharp or pointy ends, or battery cases without secure screws
Children should always be taught the intended use of the toy and use it only for that purpose. With extra care and a watchful eye, selecting safe toys can significantly reduce injuries that lead to emergency room visits or fatalities. Adult supervision is a must at all times.
Stay safe this holiday season!