Why is toy safety important?
Toys can be hazardous, resulting in hundreds of thousands of injuries each year for children age 14 or younger. There are simple ways to ensure that the toys that kids are playing with are safe. Following these steps will help decrease the number of toy-related injuries and provide peace of mind for those gifting toys to children.
Toy safety checklist
1. Check for choking hazards
Small children tend to put objects in their mouths, making toys with small parts choking hazards. One quick tip to remember: If the toy or its components can fit into an empty toilet paper roll, it can be choked on. Buy dolls or stuffed animals with eyes that are sewn on, as plastic eyes tend to fall off. In addition, watch out for small game pieces. While these kinds of games are great for older kids, they can pose a potential danger for younger, curious siblings.
2. Be cautious with batteries
Batteries are made with chemicals that can be deadly, and as electronic devices get slimmer, more contain tiny button batteries. Make sure toys that have batteries are secure so the batteries cannot come loose. Be aware of items like remote controls or musical greeting cards that may contain button batteries. If you gift a toy that requires batteries, do not include a package of batteries in the package that a child will unwrap. Instead, give the battery package to the parent or guardian of the child directly.
3. Ride safely
If you buy a riding toy for a child of any age, make sure you also buy a helmet and knee and elbow pads. Children younger than 8 years old should be closely supervised, and they should ride toys only on dry, flat surfaces, away from traffic.
4. Help prepare toys for children
A lot of toys are packaged with small parts, tags or string. Many of these parts can be easily swallowed or cause a hazard. That is why it is important to unwrap toys before letting children play with them. Do not leave it up to young children to unpackage their own toys. Although older children may seem capable of doing this, they may leave small packaging parts behind that could cause a hazard to a younger sibling or younger family member nearby.
5. Pay attention to toy labels and age recommendations
Reading the labels and instructions on toys can help indicate whether they are the right option for a child. Most toys list a recommended age range. If you are buying for a child under 14, make sure the age of the child you are buying for is within the recommended range listed on the toy packaging. In general, reading labels and instructions can help avoid injury and offer guidance for usage.
Some toys may be made with different safety standards depending on where they were made. To be safe, check toys for recalls at www.recalls.gov.
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