The holiday season brings new memories, shared meals, and new toys for children. In order to have a safe experience with these new holiday toys, it is essential for parents to practice toy safety. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, “188,400 children under the age of 15 years were seen in emergency departments for toy-related injuries (2011).” In addition, more than one-third of these accidents involve children under five years of age. Whether a toy is a choking hazard, is intended for a different age group, or has a recall notice, it is always important to be aware of the potential dangers of these new toys. It is essential to practice toy safety with all existing and new toys for children. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, a parent can practice toy safety by ensuring the following:
Find Age-Friendly Toys
It is very important to read labels and instructions to ensure the specific toy is adequate for your child. Check for any small parts that may be a potential choking hazard to your child. Importantly, “Keep in mind the child’s age, interests, and skill level. Look for quality design and construction in all toys for all ages” (CPSC). The law prohibits small parts in toys intended for children three years and under. However, parents should be weary with all toys containing small parts for children both younger and older than the age of three. These choking hazards include removable eyes and noses from stuffed toys and dolls. Removable squeakers can also impose a choking hazard for children three years and under.
Encourage the Usage of Helmets
Did your child receive a new bicycle, scooter, hoover board, skateboard, or other riding presents this holiday season? If so, be sure they wear a CPSC certified helmet to keep them safe as they play with their new toys. Moreover, “While there is no concussion-proof helmet, a helmet can help protect your child or teen from a serious brain or head injury” (CDC). Helmets should fit tightly all around, with no spaces between the foam and your child’s head. It is important to bring your child with you when purchasing a new helmet to ensure it is a good fit. Your child’s helmet must be well maintained, age appropriate, worn consistently and correctly, and appropriately certified for use. Additionally, extra protection such as wrist guards, elbow pads, and knee pads never hurt!
Store Toys Away After Usage
After playtime is over, ensure all toys are safely stored away. This will prevent toys from being used for unintended purposes or tripped over. Also, check for holes of hinges that can catch little fingers. In addition, “Toy boxes, too, should be checked for safety. Use a toy chest that has a lid that will stay open in any position to which it is raised, and will not fall unexpectedly on a child” (CPSC).
Receive Recall Notices
A recall is a product that is removed from the market or a correction is made to the product, due to its potential harmfulness or defectiveness (FDA). Moreover, “Sometimes a company discovers a problem and recalls a product on its own. Other times a company recalls a product after FDA raises concerns” (FDA). Be among the first people to receive the latest recall notices specifically for children products. This twice-monthly email alert will notify you of the latest recall notices. Keeping up to date with recalls will ensure that your child is not using a dangerous or potentially defective toy!
Remember that toy safety does not end once the toy is purchased. It is essential to periodically make sure toys are not damaged, and that all screws are properly fastened on toys such as bicycles, scooters, and skateboards. For example, “Check all toys periodically for breakage and potential hazards. A damaged or dangerous toy should be thrown away or repaired immediately” (CPSC). Periodically examine wooden toys for rough edges or splinters. If a toy is outside, make sure it is not rusty or does not have weak parts that may become hazardous. Protecting children from hazardous toys is everyone’s responsibility. Proper toy safety starts with the careful selection of toys and adequate supervision of children while at play. Practicing toy safety is the best way to protect your child from toy-related injuries.
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Helmet Safety. (2015). Retrieved December 27, 2016, from https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/helmets/
(n.d.). Toy Safety Tips. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from https://www.safekids.org/tip/toy-safety-tips
Toys. (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2016, from https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/toys/
What is a recall? (n.d.). Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Transparency/Basics/ucm194885.htm