The holidays are upon us and so are the many traditions of gift giving in America. No matter which celebration you take part in, there is nothing like the sparkle in a child’s eyes that can come with a great gift.
We want to help you make sure that joy goes uninterrupted, and any toys you purchase are as safe as possible. That is why we are doing our part to help make December, 2016, Safe Toys and Gifts Month.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2015, about 254,200 toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Nearly three quarters of those children were under the age of 15, and 35 percent were under the age of five.
These injuries occurred despite an increase in toy manufacturing regulation and stricter toy importation control at U.S. borders. In fact, 2016 saw just 24 toy recalls, that is down from 172 in 2008 (click the poster below for more detail).
What this all means is that despite toys being safer than ever before, children can still get hurt, and you still need to be watchful. Here is how:
Read the Label
Make sure toys are labeled age, skill-level or developmentally appropriate for the intended child.
Look for toys that have “ATSM” on the label. This means they have passed safety inspection standards set by the American Society for Testing of Materials.
Also make sure toys do not contain lead and are labeled “nontoxic.”
Inspect the Toy
Inspect the toy itself to make sure it isn’t broken or made up of parts that are sharp or could fly off. Read all warnings.
For children under three years, make sure toys don’t have small removable parts like buttons that could be a choking hazard. Read more about choking hazards here.
Steer clear of other items that can cause injury like magnets, strings or balloons that have all been linked to injury.
Supervise once the Toy is Opened
When first giving a child a toy, show him or her how to correctly use it, and make sure to keep an eye out while they do.
Make sure helmets and other safety gear are available and worn properly for riding toys such as bikes, skateboards and inline skates.
Always discard packaging, plastic wrap, and broken items right away, as these are often unsafe for play.
Store toys appropriately after play.
If, while doing your due diligence, you identify a toy that is unsafe, you can report it toll free to the Product Safety Commission hotline by calling: 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054). You can also report it online at saferproducts.gov. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Toy Industry Association websites keep an updated list of product recalls that you can browse before you shop.
If you have any safety concerns for your child or loved one, call us today. We are here to help you have a safe and happy holiday season.
Image Credit: Konstantin Yuganov / Adobe Images