Toy Safety this Holiday Season
Keeping young children safe is an important responsibility. But after numerous product recalls and toy safety concerns, it’s not always easy finding harmless toys. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 82,300 children under age 5 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for toy-related injuries in 2008. That is almost half of all injuries reported for children under 15.  

Toys for young children should be well-made; painted with nontoxic, lead-free paint; shatter-proof; and easily cleaned. Here are some safety steps parents can take while shopping this holiday seas

  • 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 yrs. 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 the gifts are open:

  • 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.
  • It is important to remember that typical wear and tear can result in a once-safe toy becoming hazardous.  Adults should check toys frequently to make sure they are in good repair.

With the increased popularity of second-hand stores and on-line vendors, gift-givers should be especially vigilant to prevent the sale or purchase of hazardous products that have been recalled, banned or do not meet current safety standards. Buyers should make sure their gifts do not include any of the recalled toys or children's products.

To receive e-mails about product recalls when they happen, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website. By selecting “recalls involving infant/child products” you’ll only receive e-mails related to toys and other products for young children.